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Lionel Messi speaks about his early years at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, World Cup, and admits retirement is not far off

Lionel Messi, a forward for Argentina, spoke with Jorge Valdano exclusively for “Universo Valdano.” He said the following.


Lionel Messi reflects on his early years at Barcelona

Lionel Messi, a striker for Paris Saint-Germain, has spoken candidly about the challenges he encountered when adjusting to life at Barcelona earlier in his career.

“Moving to Barcelona was a remarkable transformation for me personally and in terms of my love of football. I seldom played with the ball in Argentina and ran instead.”

“I had a challenging year. Then I moved to Barcelona, and all the training sessions were with the ball. I couldn’t play for six months, and when I was finally able to, I got hurt again.”

“My father once asked me if I wanted to return. I refused, so. I had finished adapting, which was the hardest part.”

He recalls, “Rafael Marquez, Ronaldinho, and [Samuel] Eto’o were playing for Barça at that time. Before the Gamper, I had already completed the pre-season with [Frank] Rijkaard in Asia. Gamper’s attack on Juve altered everything. The club’s attitude toward me changed as a result.”

“They all immediately made me feel like one of them: Ronaldinho, Deco, [Thiago] Motta, Sylvinho, Xavi, [Carles] Puyol. They did an excellent job of treating me. It’s challenging to enter a dressing room like that and function regularly.”

Lionel Messi on a spell with Pep Guardiola

Messi said, “Guardiola spent an exceptional amount of time at Barça. He discovered a distinctive generation. I wish I had taken advantage of that time more.”

Messi cited Guardiola’s preparation methods, the opponent’s game plan, and everything else.

“We did it so effortlessly and naturally that we were unaware of what we were doing. You realize that was something special as time went by.”

“Because he made it seem simple and everyone wanted to imitate him, Guardiola inflicted much damage on football. Without a doubt, he is the best coach; he is unique. How he approaches games, prepares, and interacts with you.”

“At 7 o’clock one evening, Guardiola called. I had gone home. He told me I would play against Real Madrid as a false 9. One of the first goals, the Henry one, turned out just as he had planned.”

“I’ve always preferred to stay alert and have Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets nearby. It was a lot simpler. Guardiola was unique.”

“Now I take pleasure in things much more. I love it a lot more when I play for the national team and clubs. At the most recent Copa America, a fantastic group was developed on the national team.

Messi details reasons why the 2022 World Cup team reminds him of the 2014 squad

Messi explained why the current team in 2022 reminds him of the squad that lost to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

Messi told the Argentine publication, “Well, [the 2022 squad] recalls me a lot of the group we talked about before the 2014 World Cup.”

“We were all there together, even the two Copa Américas. What took place was that we lacked the necessary luck to triumph.”

“We couldn’t dedicate ourselves when we made it to the final. Winning helps me work differently and changes how other people perceive me.”

Lionel Messi’s final opportunity to bring home the trophy that has dogged his career is the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In the 2014 tournament, the 35-year-old came very close to winning, but he lost in the final.

Lionel Messi reveals retirement is not far off

Messi discussed his later years and the possibility of visiting his old Rosario team, Newell’s Old Boys.

“I don’t know, so many things happen… Playing Argentine football has been a dream since I was a child; I would walk to the field and want to be there.”

“Today, however, a lot of factors come into play. I have a family of three children and recently underwent a significant life change that was challenging for my entire family and me. Now that I’ve moved past it, we both feel fantastic.”

“I now take pleasure in a city that seems lovely to me. It took a long time and was a significant adjustment the first year. It was a decision that came out of the blue, so I couldn’t enjoy everything.”

“I adore football, enjoy playing it, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever done. Whatever I do in the future will undoubtedly involve football, but I’m not sure what. I doubt I’ll play much longer.”

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