Messi has scored 11 goals in nine LaLiga appearances this season but struggled to make an impact for large spells of the leaders’ 3-0 win at the Municipal de Montilivi last month, with Pablo Maffeo deployed in an effective man-marking role.
Barca won the game courtesy of two own goals and a second-half strike from Luis Suarez but Machin believes their relative difficulty to get control of the contest highlighted the importance of Messi to their play.
However, he expects Madrid to offer a sterner test when they visit Catalonia on Sunday even despite Ronaldo’s poor run of form, with the 32-year-old having scored just once in the league in 2017-18.
10 – Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 10 goals in 13 Champions League apps against English clubs, only Lionel Messi has more (17). Punished. pic.twitter.com/KFxqCc7aSB
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2017
“They are two very good footballers and two amazing teams. But there’s a greater dependency on Messi at Barcelona than Cristiano at Madrid,” Machin told a news conference.
“They’re numbers, when Messi doesn’t score he gives an assist or starts the play.
“We thought that cancelling out that source of football and goals would give us more chances of beating Barca. It started well because Messi didn’t intervene, but with the own goals and the fact they’re very good, they beat us well.
“Madrid have many more sources to create chances to score, they all do it. We’ll have to focus on trying to stop everyone in the best way possible.”