Lionel Messi was Barcelona's worst player in their incredible Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain, according to ex-France coach Raymond Domenech, who believes the attacker is now in danger of slipping behind Neymar and Luis Suarez in the club's hierarchy.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been the very pinnacle of football for many years and is not slowing down, having scored 39 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions this season.
Domenech, though, believes that he has seen signs of a superstar on the wane, with Messi aided by the efforts of others as Barca pulled off a miraculous 6-1 win over PSG to reverse their 4-0 deficit from the first-leg and book their place in the quarter-finals.
He said: “The worst Barcelona player in this game, it was [Messi]. He was in the centre of the pitch, like when he does not want to run.
“His bad games, he’s always doing that, he’s coming down, he believes he organises, he wants to do everything.
“I think he’s at the end, but he gave so much, he was so magical. He was on and off, he was missing.
“Neymar was breathtaking because he fought, he believed. Until the end, he was attacking. Him and Suarez, but Suarez is different, he should wear boxing gloves.”
Domenech had also questioned Messi ahead of the midweek clash at Camp Nou, telling L’Equipe: “Embroiled in problems about extending his contract, Messi does not have the energy he had when he was 20 years old.
"It is not easy to see that gradually he is losing his gifts. He insists on taking free-kicks even though Neymar takes them better, all so that he can continue to be the demigod he has been.
"He is more calculated now. He has lost that spontaneity and strength in his dribbling."
Messi was on target from the penalty spot against PSG, stretching his scoring run to five successive games, and is now just one behind Cristiano Ronaldo on the all-time Champions League goalscoring chart with 94 efforts to his name.