The former Dutch manager believes the team is not winning any big trophies anymore because they lost their structure.
Barcelona was kicked out of the UEFA Champions League last season, after an amazing performance by Liverpool at Anfield.
Then the team lost the Copa del Rey Final against Valencia.
But they won the Spanish La Liga tournament.
“The players share a huge part of the responsibility for what happens in a team,” he told Give Me Sport.
“It seems that way. But I cannot judge.”
“They have a squad of 30 players and I believe that Lionel Messi should adapt himself to the team, and not the other way around,” he added.
“Pep Guardiola made him play to the benefit of the team but the last few coaches have adapted too much to Messi instead of protecting the team spirit. Team spirit is the most important thing.”
He explained: “Guardiola won [the Champions League] with Barcelona because he had Messi and because he didn’t let Messi play in his own way. That’s the difference.”
“Messi adjusted to Guardiola’s plan, not the other way around.”
“Guardiola achieved the most difficult thing: that the players moved in exactly the right direction at exactly the right time,” he said.
“To do something like that you have to create a language, a team spirit, a community.”
“Look at Sergio Aguero. He played for himself until Guardiola changed him and he moves when he’s supposed to. That’s the art of coaching,” van Gaal concluded.
We've watched you grow up.
We've chanted your name.
✨ THE GREATEST ✨
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 24, 2019