FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde does not see it as a problem that his team depends on Lionel Messi. The star player made the 34th hat trick of his career against Celta de Vigo (4-1 win) on Saturday.
With that Messi equals the record of Cristiano Ronaldo, who also has 34 hat tricks to his name in La Liga.
"It is impossible not to depend on Messi," Valverde said at the press conference after the game. "If he played at another club, they would also depend on him."
"Messi is able to change every game. He broke open the game today with his free kicks," said the coach.
"We didn't play very well, especially in the first half. We seemed a bit stuck, but Messi could make the difference."
Messi opened the score from a penalty in Camp Nou, after which Celta returned to the same level. With two striking free kicks just before and just after half time, the Argentinian decided the game.
One of Messi's two free kicks against Celta de Vigo. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Messi scores more from free kicks than clubs
The 32-year-old Messi has taken 52 free kicks throughout his career. Since the 2011/2012 season, he scored 29 times from a free kick.
In the same period, no club from one of the big five competitions in Europe succeeded in achieving that number. Juventus comes closest with 27 goals from free kicks, Real Madrid (23), AS Roma, Olympique Lyon (both 21) and Paris Saint-Germain (20) are also high on the list.
Valverde finds it no problem that his team is dependent on the five-time Golden Ball winner. "If I say we depend on Messi, I understand that people can interpret it in their own way. Those who don't like Barcelona will use it against us."
"But what I mean to say is that Messi has a very positive influence on our game. No one can deny that. In the first half we didn't play smoothly, but he made a few goals and then we could finish the game calmly."
"His presence alone is a big advantage for this club. The opponent fears him," Valverde said. "But the victory is not only from Messi. Every player does his job and we all win together."
Barcelona is entering the international period as the leader. The team of Frenkie de Jong is in points equal to rival Real Madrid.
View the results, the program and the stand in La Liga