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Stan Collymore: Lionel Messi can cause long-term damage to Barcelona

His individual creativity and goal-scoring ability has brought success to FC Barcelona, but has Lionel Messi become 'more than a club'?

Lionel Messi was, by consensus, the best player on the pitch in Barcelona's recent Champions League match against Ajax at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

The Argentine was extremely dangerous when he had the ball at his feet, created the assist which provided Neymar with the opening goal, before scoring the second himself.

  MatchPass accuracyTouchKey passAssistShot accuracyGoalsMins
Lionel Messi Barcelona vs Ajax 83% 50 2 1 20% 1 66

This, on top of 50 touches on the football, an 83% passing accuracy, the production of two goal-scoring opportunities and a goals to shots conversion rate of 1:5, suggests Messi is still firmly in contention for the status as the world's best footballer.

Bleacher Report columnist Stan Collymore has questioned whether Messi, though, could actually bring down the long-term health of Barcelona.

"Pep Guardiola appeared to have control over Lionel Messi, but based on events during Barcelona's win against Eibar at the weekend, we can't say the same about Luis Enrique," he said.

"Messi refused to come off as a substitute, which suggests he has more power than is healthy at Barcelona these days.

"For me, it's a sign that medium and long-term damage could be done.

"Barcelona has always been about a team mentality. If one player becomes bigger than the club, the very fabric of what Barca stands for could be threatened," Collymore concluded.

Messi, 27, is the captain of the club and became the all-time top scorer by the age of 24. He has also been integral to three Champions League wins and six La Liga titles.

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