'Messi not just about scoring goals' - Setien praises Barcelona captain ahead of 700-goal career milestone
According to Barcelona boss Quique Setien, Lionel Messi doesn't just have to be rated for his contribution in front of the goal as he approaches another career milestone.
The Argentine only needs two goals to reach a total of 700 for the club and the country after registering 4-0 against Mallorca in Barca on Saturday. This was the first game since the La Liga return after the top football stop in Spain the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi has the chance to reach the next benchmark in his sensational career at the home game against Leganes on Tuesday behind closed doors at Camp Nou.
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Setien recognized the sensational performance that Messi, who was playing Mallorca despite being hit in training, was on the verge of achieving it, but said the Barca skipper should be commended for more than just his goals.
"Leo is doing well. You have to rate not only the goals he scored, but also the rest of his contributions, such as the support. That gives us a lot of points," he said.
"It's an astronomical number. I think he has scored 700 goals and is therefore the best player in the world."
Setien is considering several selection issues before the competition to protect his squad from injury since he has only just got back into action.
Antoine Griezmann launched an attack on Mallorca while Luis Suarez returned from the bank after an injury.
In another game against Sevilla on Friday, Setien still has to decide whether either striker will play Leganes.
"I haven't decided whether Luis Suarez will start tomorrow, I need to talk to him. We have to be very careful, muscle problems can occur after long injuries. We have to be careful," he added.
"Luis Suarez could be one of the players who need to rest tomorrow or later. Luckily we have more players. We have a team that can adapt to the circumstances.
"Griezmann is undisputed, he is a great footballer, we continue to count on him, he will continue to play a leading role because he is important to the team and the club, but there are other players that we have to use."
The game will be Barca's first home game without spectators and Setien hopes that the absence of fans will not hinder the leaders.
"We would rather play with the support of our fans tomorrow, but we know that this is not possible and we have to adapt. Football loses its essence when it plays in front of empty stands," he said.
"I hope we don't lose any intimidation factor because we have no fans. The public factor would help us a lot. I hope it doesn't hurt us, now we don't have it with us anymore."
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