Lionel Messi isn't playing to his optimum, and it's likely because he is getting older and inevitably slowing down.
But he still provides decisive moments in games, and though the numbers are against him at the moment - he hasn't scored a goal yet in open play this season - the idea that he's given up or 'isn't trying' is quite obviously ludicrous.
Yes that was the opinion doing the rounds on Twitter this morning as a clip showed Messi barely moving as a Dynamo Kiev defender carried the ball forward. You can see the clip below.
There's been much discussed about this but the Messi context is essential.
- This was in the 93rd minute of the match
- All 10 Barcelona team-mates were behind the ball
- Messi is never part of the defensive press, not least in the last minute
- He had no part to play in this moment.
Other videos show the zoomed-out image with Barcelona perfectly comfortable in their formation behind the ball and Kiev essentially waiting for the final whistle.
Whether or not you believe that Messi's dedication to the overall Barcelona project has waned - and it probably has given what happened with Manchester City in the summer - an out-of-context six second clip is somehow enough to convince some that he's totally given up.
Therein lies the lesson - never believe anything you see on social media. Ever.