The eternal question that occupies the minds of most football fans “can Lionel Messi do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?” may just have been answered by the Ballon d’Or winner’s former team-mate Luis Suarez.
Whether a player can or cannot “do it” on a chilly evening in Staffordshire has long been a hot topic for football fans, and dates back to the 2010/11 season when Stoke City carried the notorious reputation of a hard-hitting, aggressive unit at the Britannia Stadium under Tony Pulis.
The Potters under Pulis were a defensively-robust outfit who became synonymous with heavy challenges, long throws and route one football, traits completely at odds with the perception of football in La Liga a decade ago, during a time when Messi was at the height of his powers.
This led to then Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray suggesting “he would struggle on a cold night at the Britannia Stadium”, believing the Argentine legend, who netted 53 goals in 2010/11, would not have been able to replicate that feat in the English game, particularly against the physically-imposing brand of Stoke.
And Suarez has now claimed that the reason for Messi’s recent struggles at PSG can be put down to the frosty conditions of winter in France, revealing that his ex-Barcelona team-mate told him that he has a hard time playing in the cold.
The Uruguayan told TNT Sports: “He told me that when he is playing in the cold, he suffers a lot and with the snow.
“You have to get used to what the cold weather there is like, sure.”
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So far Messi has scored just one goal in nine Ligue 1 games for PSG, despite playing in a star-studded team that features the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and many, many more.
Suarez’s suggestion that he can’t cope in the cold may in fact tell us everything we need to know about how Messi would fare on an autumnal Tuesday night in the Potteries.