Throughout his football career, Lionel Messi has been known as a man of few words, with the Argentine legend having done his talking with his mesmerizing performances on the pitch.
Surprisingly, he’s just given one of the most revealing interviews of his career to Spanish television channel, La Sexta, candidly reflecting on a number of football figures including Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Pep Guardiola, while also opening up on the events which led him to hand in a transfer request at Barcelona earlier this summer, his future at the club and his immediate future plans.
Below is a summary of the best bits of his interview:
Having sent Barcelona a burofax in order to force a move away from the club last summer, Messi gave an insight into his thoughts behind his earlier actions.
“It was a manner of making a point and expressing my feelings,” he told the Daily Mail.
“It was me telling the club that I wanted to leave I felt I’d completed a cycle and it was time to leave the club that had given me so much.
“I wanted to win titles and battle for the Champions League and felt it was time for change. The president then started to filter this and that to paint a negative picture of me.”
“It was far from easy for me to say I wanted to leave the club and the city. The family wanted to stay here, this is their home but I genuinely felt it was time to go.”
Barca got off to a bit of a rocky start at the beginning of the season and he admitted that the club is in a ‘very bad’ way.
“I’m excited even though the club is going through difficult times. These are difficult times, as for everyone,” he said , per the Sun.
“The club is really bad, very bad, it will be difficult to get back to where we were.”
Messi is apparently open to talk to non-Spanish clubs at the start of January. But he is inclined to wait until the end of the season to decide his future.
“Nothing will be crystal clear before the end of the year. I’ll wait until the season is over,” he said, as per Sky Sports.
“What matters now is thinking about the team, finishing the year well and not being distracted by other things.
“I don’t know what will happen. I’m focused on what we have here and battling for whatever we can.
“I’m not thinking about how the year will end. As of today, it wouldn’t be wise for me to say what I’m going to do because I don’t know.”
He was then asked which sporting stars he admires.
“There are many admirable athletes. Rafa Nadal, Federer, LeBron – in all sports there is always someone who stands out and is admirable for his work,” the Argentine said, per Goal.
“Cristiano [Ronaldo] stands out in football. There are many who stand out and always do their best.”
Messi expressed his disbelief that good friend Suarez was allowed to leave Barcelona for free.
“What happened with Luis Suarez to Atleti (Atletico Madrid) was crazy!” he exclaimed.
“He left for free, paying the remaining years of his contract and he joined a team that fight for the same objectives as us. Unbelievable.”
When it came to Guardiola, Messi was full of praise for his ex mentor, whom he described as ‘special’.
“He (Guardiola) has something special about him. I don’t know,” he said per Sky Sports.
“He makes you see things in a certain way in terms of how he prepares for games, both defensively and going forward.
“He could tell you exactly how the match is going and how you have to attack to win.”
The Argentine then revealed he wants to play in another league, especially MLS.
“I’ve always had the dream of playing in another league, in the United States,” he shared. “Maybe it will happen, doesn’t have to be right away. Today I am just focused on these next six months.”