Erik ten Hag: Lionel Messi never got better after Pep Guardiola left

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Blaise Bourgeois

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It’s hard to argue that Lionel Messi was ever better than when he was playing under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012.

Messi’s four-straight Ballon d’Ors between 2009 and 2012 may be a record that will never ever be broken so long as the people reading this are still on this planet.

Barcelona’s dominance was unmatched during that time, winning three LaLiga titles in addition to two Copa del Reys and two Champions League crowns.

Barça have only won the Champions League once in the last eight years and Ajax manager Erik ten Hag believes Guardiola’s influence had much to do with their success.

“Messi was one of the leaders, but he also worked for the team and excelled as a result. He has never been as good as under Guardiola,” Ten Hag told Voetbal International.

“Barcelona has not won much in European terms in recent years either.

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“Messi still excels, but now also occasionally goes through the lower limit. It was never like that under Guardiola.

“Pep has guts, he dares to be pioneering and innovative.”

Messi continues to flood the stat column, contributing an incredible 24 goals and 16 assists in 31 games in all competitions this season.

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