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26-Oct-2020, 07:40 pm

'Barcelona players must adapt to Messi' - Team mates must change to accommodate all-time great, says De Jong

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi remains the best footballer in the world and it is down to his Barcelona team-mates to play to the forward's strengths, according to midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

He has also created just one chance in La Liga this term, with young academy product Ansu Fati - five goals and one assist in all competitions - stealing the limelight, but De Jong, who has thrived in a deeper midfield roleunder Koeman, insists it is down to the others in Barca's squad to ensure Messi is in the right positions to work his magic.

"When you have Messi in your team, of course you have the best player in the world in your team," he told

"You try to get him into the best positions to make a difference and I think we need to adapt to him.When he is receiving the ball in a position where he can make the difference, he will make it for you, always."

De Jong struggled at times in his debut campaign at Camp Nou, but has been shifted into his favoured position by Koeman alongside Sergio Busquets.

The Netherlands international is averaging more successful dribbles this season(2.45) compared to the 2019-20 campaign(1.95) and, while he is touching the ball less often - down from 81.43 pergame to 77.73 - he is happy with the tactical tweak.

"I think in my nature as a player, I want to receive the ball early in the play and to set up the play," he said."I think that's more my style of play than waiting for the ball and receiving it up front, and touching the ball less.

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