The two-time Copa Libertadores winner with Boca Juniors has claimed that the 32-year-old “walks more on the pitch now” than he used to.
Despite this suggestion, Messi has still scored 23 goals in 30 appearances for the Catalans this season, laying on another 16
That has not spared him from Gatti, though.
“I don’t care if they criticise me in Argentina,” he told El Chiringuito.
“I’m very Argentinian and Messi is a phenomenon, but he’s not a phenomenon now
“They treat him wrong because they big him up and big him up and treat him wrong. He gets used to it and walks more on the pitch. He has to be better.
“Cristiano [Ronaldo] and him are the two best.
“Messi has to be better, he’s got used to playing at a weary rhythm, walking and those that know football think the same. Take off, kid. You have to play well.
“When there’s a player like Messi, like it was with Maradona and Pele, and his teammates always give the ball to him to win the game.
“They spoil the team and they don’t put everything they have into it.
“The team get used to giving him the ball and not anyone else.”
Messi is regarded as one of the outstanding players of all-time, having won the Ballon d’Or on six different occasions, including the 2019 award.
He holds a raft of records, having netted more often than another other player in Barcelona colours, with 437 league goals scored in 473 appearances.
Although Messi was not on target in last weekend’s Clasico against Real Madrid, a match his side lost 2-0, he had scored four against Eibar a week earlier to help his side to the top of the table – a position they subsequently lost at the Bernabeu.