Messi is still the best despite Champions League defeat – Alves

The Argentine’s goals have helped Barca to win an eighth La Liga title in 10 years this season, and his former team-mate doesn’t see him slowing down.

Former Barcelona defender Dani Alves says Lionel Messi is still the world’s best despite a below-par performance as Barcelona were thrashed 4-0 at Liverpool to crash out of the Champions League.

Messi is still the best despite Champions League defeat - Alves

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi showed flashes of his usual brilliance during the opening minutes at Anfield on Tuesday as Barca looked to snuff out any hope of a Liverpool fight-back following a 3-0 first leg defeat.

But the visitors wilted under an intense onslaught from Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, losing 4-0 and leaving critics to run the rule over a transfer policy that has recently seen the club eschew the nurturing of their own talent in favour of expensive foreign buys.

And former full-back Alves, who won three Champions Leagues at Camp Nou between 2008-16, believes the change in approach has negatively affected the club formerly praised for its academy graduates.

“When I see stories about how Barca are now buying players to market them, you can sense that they are changing their philosophy a bit,” he told ESPN. “Barca were about developing players.

“They didn’t change their style, they signed players for specific positions. Now the feeling is they make too many moves on the market. But I also think that criticism is opportunistic.

“It’s easy to lecture after elimination. You know Barca still like to take care of the ball and make good passes. It doesn’t matter who comes in or who leaves, that’s their identity.”

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