How to win at football’s most difficult game
It is a cliché to say that the most difficult football game is the one you are supposed to win.
Yet for every great footballer there is a great footballer who has the opposite problem.
They often come from humble backgrounds and struggle to adapt to the demands of the game.
In the case of Lionel Messi, for example, the Argentinian has been a product of a footballing utopia.
Born in Argentina, Messi arrived at Barcelona in 1993 aged 17.
He has gone on to become a legend at the Camp Nou and the Bernabeu.
The greatest of all time?
Lionel Messi (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabéu in 2003, when they were both young.
Getty Images But for many young players, the most challenging footballing challenge is the opposite.
It is the job of coaches to instil the correct mentality in the players, according to Roberto Di Matteo.
The Italian coach is currently on the sidelines as he undergoes a medical and is unsure of when he will return to action.
In Argentina, Di Mattea has overseen some of the best teams in the world, winning the World Cup in 2015 and the European Championships last year.
Yet, as a manager he is still in shock about the success of the players at the top.
“There is a lot of pride in what they have achieved,” Di Mattey told BBC Sport.
I think that is a problem.””
The problem is when the young players don’t know the way to play, they do not know the level of pressure you can apply in a game.
I think that is a problem.”
Di Matteo is not the only one who has been criticised for failing to instilled in the Argentinians the right mentality.
His compatriot Jorge Sampaoli is one of the most successful managers in the history of football, winning two Champions Leagues and three FA Cups.
Yet his approach to the game is considered by many as a failure.
When Sampaolo was first appointed as the Barcelona boss, his style was considered a bit like a mixture of Guardiola and Mourinho.
While Sampaol often played a direct, attacking game, he also used an emphasis on building up his squad through the middle of the pitch.
Sampaoli, however, has never won a major trophy in his seven-year stint at the Nou Camp.
And while his teams have improved under Di Matteos reign, he has yet to win a major title with the club.
Di Matteos failure to instigate the right mindset is another problem for Di Matteas successor.
The problem with his approach?
As Di Mattean said, it is not something that is easy to change.
He has been in charge of Barcelona for 18 months, but he has not managed to turn Barcelona into a title-winning team.
On the pitch, the problems that are plaguing Barcelona have not changed, but their effect on the team has.
The club has struggled to cope with the pressure of the Champions League, the pressure generated by the domestic leagues, the pressures from the European Champions and the pressure from the Confederations Cup.
As Barcelona have become less consistent in their domestic competitions, their form has dropped.
They have also struggled to keep the best players.
There is no doubt that the players are frustrated.
They feel they are being left out of the title race.
But there is no denying that the results have also left them with a sense of disappointment and disappointment that their season was not better.
This season, Barcelona have failed to win the Champions León, the Copa del Rey, the Coppa Italia, La Liga or the Europa League.
The biggest problems are the ones that come with the worst of them, with the team not playing at its best.
So what does Di Matteon do?
He is not one to be too critical.
“The problem we have with the players is the way they have been performing,” he said.
“They are very professional.
But the problem we also have with our fans is that they don’t seem to have the right attitude.
I don’t want to talk about the players who are not doing well.
I want to tell them: ‘You have to play like you want to play’.”
We can’t do it by being too harsh on them.
We must give them the chance.
And I hope that when they come back they will do it like we did.
“There are two teams in Europe who are more likely to challenge for the title than Barcelona.
Both of these teams are under Di Matones stewardship.
And as Barcelona’s problems worsen, the Spanish giants have also been left to try and turn things around.