Fabregas

Fabregas and Messi have developed an understanding on the field ever since the Spaniard's arrival from Arsenal this summer. Picture - Reuters.

As preposterous as it seems, Barcelona star Lionel Messi has come under criticism for below-par performances in the three games coming into their match-up against Real Mallorca this Saturday.

The Argentine has failed to score against Viktoria Plzen, Sevilla and Granada and although Barca have won two and drew one of those three games, they have failed to produce their best form.

However, those games have come without summer-signing and ex-Barca youth product Cesc Fabregas in the team as he was out with a short-term injury. Messi and Fabregas played together during their time at the La Masia and has displayed high chemistry between them immediately since Fabregas made the move to Spain from Arsenal.

Fabregas, one of nine Barcelona players to be nominated in the 50-man Ballon D'Or award, was quick to throw his weight behind his childhood friend Messi.

I haven't heard any arguments,'' Fabregas said.He's my age. If you see the progress he's made, I don't think I'll ever see it again. He's won everything, except the World Cup.

He scores goals every game, makes them, always plays. He's a fabulous player, physically and mentally. If there are doubts about Messi, I don't know how they see the rest of us. I've never played with a player like him, either at youth level or professionally.

He's humble, never hides, always gives everything for the team, and loves the club. There's nothing more to say.''

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola will be hoping Messi can silence his critics against Real Mallorca this Saturday.