Alba unfazed by Messi goal ‘streak’ as Barcelona superstar returns to match-winning form

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Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21
The mercurial Argentine has been short of his prolific best this season, but he still proved decisive in a keenly-fought clash with Levante

Jordi Alba remains unfazed by Lionel Messi’s recent struggle for goals, with the Barcelona defender pointing out that even the very best “go through streaks”.

On the back of a transfer window dominated by speculation regarding his future, and with another fast approaching, a talismanic presence at Camp Nou has been short of his prolific best this season.

Messi has still found the target on eight occasions through 15 appearances, but he has set a personal bar much higher than that.

Fortunately for Barca, their club captain was back in match-winning form against Levante on Sunday – with his solitary strike proving decisive.

The Argentine had headed into that contest with just one effort to his name through his previous four appearances, and with only four La Liga goals added to his remarkable tally.

Alba insists that nobody in Catalunya was concerned by Messi’s lack of end product, with it inevitable that he will rediscover a spark at some stage.

The Blaugrana full-back told Movistar: “Forwards go through streaks. We know that if we give it to them, they can create danger.

“Leo won the game with his goal. I think we have stood up and done a good job. We needed the points.”

Ronald Koeman tinkered with his plans slightly for a home date with Levante, going with a 4-2-3-1 approach, and Alba believes Barca’s star-studded squad are capable of adapting to whatever is asked of them.

He added: “We feel good about the system. Sometimes we play with a double pivot and sometimes not.

“We have to adapt in football. We will have to change the system again, or not. It depends on what the coach wants.”

A welcome victory in what has been a testing domestic campaign for Barca so far has lifted them to eighth in the Liga table, nine points off the pace being set by Real Sociedad but with Alba confident that a title challenge can be staged.

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The 31-year-old left-back said: “If we do things well, we will be up there.

“We have dropped points that we should not have. This year there are teams at the top that normally are not. That is important for La Liga.”

Barca, who have been drawn against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League, will be back in action on Wednesday when they play host to league leaders Sociedad.