The Camp Nou legend states the Blaugrana have become over-reliant in their talismanic skipper, with no one else stepping up to give assistance.

With Luis Suarez nevertheless sidelined through injury, Barcelona legend Rivaldo says”nobody else at the group appears to be capable of assisting” Lionel Messi in the imagination department.

The Blaugrana found that out to their price at a Clasico clash with arch-rivals Real Madrid on Sunday.

Quique Setien’s side led to Santiago Bernabeu perched on the peak of the Liga standings but drew a blank in a 2-0 defeat and have slipped down to second.

Messi wasn’t able to conjure up another talismanic performance in his most recent outing against old adversaries, and the supporting cast offered him little aid.

Rivaldo admits problems in the last third are becoming a worry for Barca, together with the Camp Nou icon telling Betfair:”As usual, Lionel Messi had little room to play in.

“He’s Barca’s game winner and when he’s well defended their odds of being threatening in attack are seriously diminished.

“At the moment, he’s the sole Barcelona player taking responsibility with the ball, shooting from beyond the box and trying to unbalance opposing defenders.

“No one else in the group appears to be capable of assisting him in that department. This makes things tough for the Argentinian.

“Without Luis Suarez, Barcelona loses a great deal since, besides Messi, they don’t have another player who can surprise opponents. The Uruguayan works hard is daring and puts opposing defences into the sword frequently.

“Barca is missing Suarez and, in his absence, they are putting all of the responsibility on Messi.

“When they lose, everybody starts asking what happened to Messi. He’s always the target of fans’ frustration when things do not go so well for the group but that is unfair.”

Rivaldo considers Barca blew a”big chance” to take charge of this 2019-20 title race from the Spanish capital, with an intriguing battle for national supremacy apparently set to be set by the best of margins.

The Brazilian added:”Quique Setien’s players understood El Clasico was a big opportunity for them to run off on top of La Liga. By dropping at Santiago Bernabeu, they ought to feel they wasted a chance at an important stage of the season.

“Barca played well in the first half and could have scored the first goal, which would have altered the approach of both groups. However, they were not clinical and in the next half Madrid managed to perform better and make the most of their chances.

“In such matches, each detail can make the difference and if Barcelona had scored first I am sure things could have been different.

“But it did not happen that way this time and Madrid ended up taking more risks in the second-half and were rewarded for that.”

Barcelona will be back in action on Saturday when they play host to Real Sociedad.