Skip to the content Home .:. About .:. Biography
Name Lionel Messi
Gender Male
Ethnic Argentinian
Job Argentinian Footballer
Desc There is absolutely no denying the fact that ​Lionel Messi is the greatest player of the 21st century. On pure talent alone, no one comes close. To describe him as extraordinary would be a disservice, quite frankly, as we’ve seen him take apart practically every side in Europe single-handedly for Barcelona over the past few years. So why is he only at number three on this list? Argentina. He can’t quite guide his national side to glory, no matter how hard he tries and, until he can break that curse, that will always count against him in the GOAT debate

Affiliation

Org Argentinian National Team
Club as Player Barcelona FC
  Grandoli

Relationship

Father Jorge Messi
Brother Angel Juarez Messi
Agent Josep Maria Minguella

2013 11 05 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Paul Scholes] At La Masia his name was mentioned a lot. He’s a teacher

2013 12 30 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on himself] It’s crazy that I’m compared to athletes like Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt or Muhammad Ali. I don’t like comparisons. Who am I to compare myself to someone else? I do my job and when my career is over we’ll see how well I’ve done. The biggest critic of Messi is Messi. I know when I do things correctly and when I do them poorly

2013 12 31 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi decides against letting his football do the talking for once and sparks panic at Camp Nou by publicly attacking vice-president Javier Faus] Javier Faus is a person who does not know anything about football. He tries to run Barcelona like a business, but this is a football club. Barcelona are the best club in the world and should also have the best directors in the world

2015 02 21 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on bouncing back from a disappointing 2014] I knew I was coming off the back of a not very good year, during which I went through a lot of problems on and off the field. It was a challenge to change the image that I had given out last season and to be the player I had been in previous seasons again. That was my objective and that’s how I came out at the start of this season, really up for it

2015 07 11 Retrieve

[Antonio Cuccitini on his grandson Lionel Messi at the Copa America] Some of him turned up. However, in the last three games he was poor. He was lazy

2015 08 20 Retrieve

[Barcelona star Lionel Messi on Thierry Henry] The first day that he came into the dressing room, I did not dare to look him in the face. I knew everything that he had done in England

2015 10 11 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi comments on when Argentina and Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano gets a little moody] He has his days. Sometimes he comes in wanting to talk and make jokes, but he also has crazy days. When that’s the case it’s better not to talk to him. We see him there and no one dares to say anything

2016 01 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi explains that he hopes to get a taste of football in his homeland someday] It was always my dream when I was a boy, though I had to leave at a very early age because of my situation and it didn’t happen. I had to go to Europe, start out with Barcelona and make my career there. But I would like to return to Argentinian football one day

2016 02 27 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Barcelona team-mates Neymar and Luis Suarez] It’s wonderful playing with them. We get along really well on and off the pitch. We really are friends and that is really important to enable us to play this kind of football

2016 03 09 Retrieve

[on Francesco Totti] A great player! What a phenomenon!

2016 03 26 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi responding to President Obama wishes to meet him] For me it would be a source of great pride to be able to meet him and his daughters, but obviously I know it would be complicated. I don’t know whether it is possible

2016 05 28 Retrieve

[Even the biggest stars in the world can be left impressed by the sporting prowess of others and Lionel Messi has his eyes on a few off pitch/on court activities at the Copa America Centenario] Part of me is also hoping to meet Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Seeing him play is magical. Everyone loves what he does: basketball fans, teammates, rivals. Our small sizes, and even our playing styles, are similar. If you watch Curry play or, just as revealing, warm up before the game-you notice his relationship with the ball. It’s like his body and mind are always on the same wavelength with the ball. I try to have that connection in my sport

2016 07 02 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi announced his retirement from the Argentinian national team following his nation’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile in Sunday’s Copa America Centenario final] In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s the way I feel right now, it’s a huge sadness once again and I missed the penalty that was so important. I tried so hard to be [a] champion with Argentina. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t do it. I think it’s best for everyone, for me and for many people who want it. The choice for me is over, it is a decision

2016 09 09 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi talks about his son] I see that he doesn’t like football that much so I leave it. I’m not the type to buy him footballs or force him. [But] now the club has started something for the children and we’ll see if he gets hooked. He wants to win at everything. I also like to win, so I don’t let him. Even when we climb the stairs and he wins, he makes sure to tell me

2016 09 14 Retrieve

[Quotes on Luis Suarez] He is the best out-and-out forward there is in the game today. He has so much to offer the team and it is a pleasure to play alongside him. We also have a very good relationship off the pitch and I am very happy to be sharing everything with him

2016 09 17 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Andres Iniesta in an extract from the new book The Artist: Being Iniesta] On the pitch, I like him to be near me, especially when the game takes a turn for the worse, when things are difficult. That’s when I say to him: ‘Come closer, I want you by my side’. He takes control and responsibility; he leads the team. In the finals, Andrés, Xavi, Busquets and I have always liked to come together to give us a numerical advantage, to control the ball and the game

2016 11 25 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Steven Gerrard] Personally, I think Gerrard is England’s greatest ever player. I wish him a happy retirement

2016 11 26 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi claims his team are not reliant on him] I don’t consider talk of Barça being Messi-dependent to be praise or a concern, because it’s not the case. I’m in the best team in the world, [Barça] don’t depend on one player

2017 08 05 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi posts a farewell message to Neymar] It was an enormous pleasure to have shared these years with you Neymar, friend. I wish you a lot of luck in the next stage of your life. See you. Love you a lot

2017 10 14 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi speaking after playing an instrumental part in his country securing a Russia 2018 ticket] Fortunately everything went well and we are into the World Cup. We are calm now after achieving the main goal, that is the most important thing. All this time that we were away from the press and the fans helped us to be closer. It would have been crazy a World Cup without Argentina, this group didn’t deserve it. The team will change, will grow a lot and will come out stronger. It was a relief because we were in a tough spot. We got ourselves into this mess. It was not easy to play here, a lot of things happen from my mind when the 0-1 came, but the group overcame the situation very well and was quick to take the lead. There was some fear of missing the World Cup. We let pass a lot of opportunities and we had to decide our future in this game. We had to qualify, now it’s time to enjoy

2017 12 02 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi tells about his family life] The truth is that being a father is the most beautiful thing that’s happened to me in all my life. We have two children and are waiting for another; the first was an incredible feeling, the second the same and so will be the third

2017 12 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi responds to Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli’s statement that football owes Messi a FIFA World Cup] Yes, I did hear it, and he said it to me too. I hope football does end up paying me! [laughs]

2018 01 06 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi talks about his new year’s resolution] I want to be perfect and yet there are some parts of my game I have to improve to reach the maximum level. Which part? Penalties, I have to practice them more

2018 01 20 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi pays tribute to Ronaldinho] As I always said, I learned a lot by your side. I will always be grateful to you for how easy it was that you did everything to me when I got to the dressing room. I was lucky to share many things with you and I am very happy because, in addition to a phenomenon with the ball, you are a very great person and that is the most important thing. Even if you decide to leave, football will never forget your smile. All the best, Ronnie

2018 01 27 Retrieve

[Messi posts a farewell message to Javier Mascherano] Masche, after so many matches and moments together, words are not enough. You know I’m going to miss you, it will be strange to come to the dressing room and not see you sitting by my side. But we are going to the national team soon

2018 03 26 Retrieve

[Messi wrote in his book, The Patriot] When I was a kid I expected to get a call from the AFA [Argentinian Football Association]. I was asked informally if I wanted to play for Spain, but I always said that I wanted to play for my national team because I love Argentina and these are the only colours I want to wear. I was always an avid fan of the national team. I watched the games on television because I could never go to the grounds and watch them as a fan

2018 03 24 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi speaks about the support he has felt as the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia approaches] I have seen in many places in the world that people want this to be a good World Cup for me. The truth is I find this amazing, that in different parts of the world people want Argentina to win, and that people want me to be champion, it’s amazing

2018 12 22 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi reflects on his remarkable career to date] The truth is I had no idea this would happen when I started. I dreamt of playing professional football and enjoying success, I love the game, but I never imagined I would have so much

2019 03 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi shared his thoughts on Cristiano Ronaldo. From one Champions League hat-trick record holder to another] What Cristiano and Juventus did on Tuesday was impressive. It was a big surprise. I thought Atletico would be a lot stronger, but Juve were all over them and Cristiano had a magical night

2019 04 01 Retrieve

[Hector Enrique says Messi will never reach Maradona’s level] It is hard, my son is always looking on YouTube and saw a video. He asked me why in Argentina they want to kill me! But I like to keep going. I still want to win something with the national team. I am going to play all the important games. We already reached a World Cup final [in 2014] and this is not that easy.

2019 07 07 Retrieve

[Gary Medel has backed Lionel Messi following their red-card altercation on Saturday night. The incident occurred during the Copa America third-place play-off between Messi’s Argentina and Medel’s Chile, and saw both players receive their marching orders] There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil. I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn’t have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America. We could have gone further but we weren’t allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football

: 2019 08 02 Lionel Messi has been suspended from Argentina’s next three matches and given a $50,000 by CONMEBOL for his controversial comments made during the Copa America

2019 07 24b Retrieve

[After being sent off against Chile, Messi skipped the Copa America medal ceremony, clearly still upset about his red card in the third-place game and what transpired in his nation’s semi-final defeat to host country Brazil] There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil. I hope the VAR and referees don’t play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me. I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn’t have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America. We could have gone further but we weren’t allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football

2019 07 24c Retrieve

[Lionel Messi’s inflammatory comments claiming that there was corruption within the federation relating to the Copa America tournament. CONMEBOL responded to Messi’s comments with a withering statement of their own] In football sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and accepting the outcome of a match with loyalty and respect is a fundamental pillar of fair play. Same goes to the refereeing decisions, that are human and will never be perfect. Said accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the football players involved and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL, an institution that since 2016 has been tirelessly working to professionalise and develop South American football

: 2019 07 30 Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay will feature on the cover of PES 2020 alongside Lionel Messi.

: 2019 07 31 Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are among the 10 players nominated for FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player award. The shortlist, which takes into accounts achievements from July 16, 2018 to July 19, 2019, was compiled by a panel of experts and also comprises of former Ajax duo Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, Liverpool double act Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Tottenham striker Harry Kane, Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard and PSG ace Kylian Mbappe

: 2019 08 02 Lionel Messi has been suspended from Argentina’s next three matches and given a $50,000 by CONMEBOL for his controversial comments made during the Copa America

2019 08 04 Retrieve

[Messi once again addressed the Camp Nou crowd ahead of this year’s Joan Gamper Trophy, this time against Arsenal, to issue a rallying cry ahead of the new campaign] It’s hard to say something after last season, but I don’t regret anything. But I have no doubt that together we are going to fight again for everything. We won eight League titles in 11 years. We do not give it the value it deserves but over the years we will see how difficult it was. This club fights for everything and this year will be no different. We have renewed dreams. Visca Barca and Visca Catalunya!

: 2019 08 05 Lionel Messi is set to miss Barcelona’s upcoming trip to the USA after suffering a calf injury during his first training session back at the club

2019 08 05b Retrieve

[Although Barca have not put a timeframe on his recovery, Messi does not seem to think the injury will keep him sidelined for long] I was looking forward to starting and unfortunately I had an accident in the first training session that will leave me out for a little while. I’m grateful for all your messages and displays of affection, I wanted to be with the team and with the people who follow us in the USA. It wasn’t to be this time, but we’ll see each other again soon. A hug to everyone

2019 08 24 Retrieve

[Norwegian third-division side IK Junkeren have signed Lionel Messi - a 16-year-old footballer that’s recently changed his name to that of his idol] I’ve had a plan for a while to change my name and I have Lionel Messi as my biggest idol. With my dedication to football, it made sense to try. I want to say that I try my best to play like him. Some similarities are certainly possible to see, but the talent is probably not as great. I have quite similar ball control and some speed. Those who know me from before still use the old first name, while new ones might call me Lionel or Leo

2019 08 24b Retrieve

[While unlikely to have an immediate impact on the pitch, Messi is still undoubtedly Junkeren’s most eye-catching signing and they aren’t ready to stop there. Junkeren general manager Runar Bo Eriksen said] I joked earlier that we have to look for Cristiano Ronaldo now. We know that there is a Ronaldo in the transfer market who has previously played at Fauske/Sprint, so we know he is out there

2019 08 27 Retrieve

[There have been five muscular injuries in total. Club captain Lionel Messi even admitted that the players had taken it upon themselves to help Dembele avoid wasting his undoubted talent] On the pitch [Dembele] is a phenomenon and it depends on him [how good he becomes]. He has all the opportunity in the world to do what he wants. He can be one of the best. On the other hand, he’s a young guy who is adapting to the city and the club. The less you speak about it, the better. It’s necessary to leave him so he can be calm. He has already realised his mistakes and has rectified them. We are going to help him focus on football

2019 08 29 Retrieve

[Messi matched Cristiano Ronaldo’s praise, saluting his long-running battle with the Juve star] With Cristiano, it was a beautiful rivalry. It’s nice to score goals. The goal is always to try to do things to win, before scoring. But if you can win and score, then [it’s] better

2019 09 05 Retrieve

[Messi has been perennially linked with a return to his homeland, however, as he has admitted that he wants to play for his boyhood club, Newell’s Old Boys, before the end of his career] I would love that but it won’t be easy, for all that it means going back to Argentina. I must think about the kids and Thiago is starting to become a big boy, so he takes decisions together with us. Of course I would like to play for Newell’s but I really don’t know what is going to happen

2019 09 06 Retrieve

[Messi has previously stated a desire to return to his roots at Newell’s Old Boys before hanging up his boots] I’m increasingly sure that in Europe, Barcelona will be my only club. I always said I wanted to play in Argentine football one day, I don’t know if it will happen but I have it in my mind. It would be at Newell 9484afd5836d307b314a404d745a9a68, nowhere else. I would like to do that for at least six months, but you never know what will happen

2019 09 12 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi admits to not being a close friend of Cristiano Ronaldo, but says he would happily accept a dinner invitation from the Juventus forward] Yes, I don’t have any problem with that. I’ve always said that I don’t have any issue with him. We might not be friends because we’ve never shared a dressing room together but I always see him at award shows and there’s no problem. We actually spoke with each other for quite a long time at the most recent show. I don’t know if there will be a dinner because I don’t know if our paths will cross for obvious reasons, each one of us has our own life and our own commitments. But obviously I would accept the invitation

2019 09 12b Retrieve

[Lionel Messi has eased fears regarding an exit clause in his contract at Barcelona] I can’t confirm anything because there are confidentiality agreements in our contracts. What I can say is that I want to be at Barcelona as long as possible. I’ve said throughout my career that this is my home. But I also don’t want to have a long-term contract and only be here because of it. I want to be here because physically I’m fine, to play and be an important member of the squad. And, as I said before, I need to see there’s a winning team because I want to keep winning things at this club. For me, money or a clause don’t mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team

[When pressed further on whether he would like to work on a rolling 12-month contract which would offer him greater freedom] My idea is to continue here for as long as I can perform well and my body allows me to do that. Afterwards, as I said before, my contract isn’t something that worries me or even something I manage myself. My father handles that with the president or whoever he needs to talk to. I only express my thoughts. Obviously, I want to win and I want to win at this club. This is my home. I don’t have any intention of going anywhere but I want to keep competing and winning

[It has been suggested that talks over fresh terms are underway, but Messi says that is not the case] My father handles that but we aren’t talking with Barca. He would have told me if so

2019 09 12c Retrieve

[When asked if he has spent much time with Griezmann] Very little to be honest. Since I returned, I’ve been injured and training on my own. I’m not really in the group. They went on the tour and when they came back we saw each other a little in the dressing room. But I’ve not been there in the training sessions. We’ll have the opportunity to share many things

[Messi said of Ousmane Dembele, who has seen his attitude questioned in the past] I believe he’s an impressive talent who can do whatever he wants. He is very young and I think this year will be very important for him to make the step up that the whole of the Barcelona fan base wants to see. He needs to make that change to be more professional, to put that idea into his head, so he can be a success at Barcelona like he wants to be. I hope he doesn’t have the bad luck he’s had with injuries. Last year, when we needed him the most, he was injured. Hopefully that doesn’t happen this year and he’s able to show everything he has, which is a lot. As a player, he’s very impressive

[If Dembele is unable to raise his game, then he would not be the first to flop at Barca, with only six of the 21 signings made since 2014-15 still on the Blaugrana’s books] Because it’s very difficult to play for Barcelona. It’s the biggest club in the world and everything that comes with it is tough. The supporters, the groups, the media coverage… It isn’t easy to come in and step out onto the Camp Nou pitch. It doesn’t matter for some and others feel it immediately. When someone has a strong mentality and is confident, everything works out. But not everyone is the same. Some people aren’t able to adapt to these things in the same way. It isn’t easy to play for Barcelona

2019 09 12d Retrieve

[Lionel Messi says he would’ve loved to have seen Neymar return to Barcelona] I would have loved for Neymar to come. Honestly, I don’t know if Barca did everything possible to get him back but I’m sure negotiating with PSG isn’t easy. I am not disappointed. We have a spectacular squad that can fight on all fronts, without Ney as well. On a sporting level Neymar is one of the best in the world. And with him on the sponsorship and image front the club would have also taken a step up

[Reports in Spain had claimed that Messi and his team-mates were demanding the signing of Neymar] We never asked for Neymar to be signed, we just gave our opinion. Do I run things [at Barcelona]? It has been demonstrated that it is not the case

2019 09 16 Retrieve

[Messi went public with his disappointment over Barca’s inability to re-sign Neymar, and even openly questioned the club’s commitment to getting the deal done] I don’t know what happened with the directors, I know they were speaking with Neymar. Neymar told me how things were going. He was really looking forward to coming back. I understand it’s difficult to negotiate with PSG and with Neymar because he’s one of the best. These negotiations are never easy. But the truth is I would have loved him to come back to us. I understand some people were against it and that’s normal considering everything that happened and how he left us, but thinking about it on a sporting level, Neymar is, for me, one of the best players in the world. Obviously, he would have increased our chances of getting the results that we all want

[Messi – who has a clause in his contract, which runs until 2021, allowing him to leave for nothing next year – has been tellingly non-committal regarding his future] I’ve said throughout my career that this is my home. But I also don’t want to have a long-term contract and only be here because of it…For me, money or clauses don’t mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team

2019 09 24 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi was happy to win the Best FIFA Men’s Player award] It has been a long time without winning an individual prize. It is an award that I have for the first time and it is good to have it

[With matches against Villarreal and Getafe this week, Messi is eager to see Ernesto Valverde’s men bounce back and begin to make inroads on league leaders Athletic Bilbao, who are four points clear of the Catalans] We’ve started badly and are struggling to create play and chances. It’s just the start, but we have to respond now. There’s no more time and we have to improve a lot, we’re aware of this. It’s a team thing. I have no doubts that we’ll improve

2019 09 24b Retrieve

[Messi reveals he was wowed by Barcelona teen sensation Ansu Fati in first training session] Ansu Fati got my attention from the first time I saw him training, but you have to go step-by-step because he is 16 years old. He still doesn’t have the responsibility that others want to put on his shoulders. He has the potential to be a very important player but we have to help him

2019 09 24c Retrieve

[Messi lifts the lid on Ronaldo rivalry after landing FIFA Best award. Quizzed on why people are surprised to find that the pair get along so well] Because of the big sporting rivalry that’s developed between us over the last few years, because one of us played for Barcelona and the other for [Real] Madrid, and because we won individual awards. People perhaps think the rivalry goes beyond football, but it doesn’t. We both want what’s best for our teams and neither of us like losing. It’s something we don’t accept. That’s why there’s that competitiveness between us. The important thing is that it stays there, out on the pitch

[He added on his targets for the current campaign] It’s been four years since we’ve won the Champions League and we really want to win it again. We know, though, that if we don’t do the job day in day out, then we won’t make it. And as for the Copa America, I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to go for it yet again. I’m really excited about this year’s Copa

2019 09 24d Retrieve

[Messi reiterates Newell’s dream after emergence of Barcelona exit clause. Quizzed on whether that remains the plan] Yes. That’s what I’ve always said, haven’t I? It’s a childhood dream of mine to play in the Newell’s shirt, though I don’t know if I can make it happen. It’s not just down to me, though. I’ve got three children

[Messi, though, has no intention of moving into coaching unless he experiences a sudden change of heart before heading into retirement] I’ve always said that I don’t, but you never know. I look at them and start thinking that I would like to work with youngsters, to train them and coach them, but right now I honestly can’t see it happening. It might happen over the new few years, though. I don’t know

2019 09 25 Retrieve

[Messi win The Best FIFA Men’s player for the first time at a ceremony in Milan on Monday] It has been a long time without winning an individual prize. It is an award that I have for the first time and it is good to have it

2019 09 25b Retrieve

[Barcelona issue update on Messi adductor injury] First team player Leo Messi has an elongation at the adductor of the left thigh. It is low and its progression will determine his availability

2019 09 28 Retrieve

[The Best FIFA Men’s Player Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo] Because of the big sporting rivalry that’s developed between us over the last few years, because one us played for Barcelona and the other for [Real] Madrid, and because we won individual awards. People perhaps think the rivalry goes beyond football, but it doesn’t. We both want what’s best for our teams and neither of us like losing. It’s something we don’t accept. That’s why there’s that competitiveness between us. The important thing is that it stays there, out on the pitch

2019 10 03 Retrieve

[Messi quashes talk of Griezmann issues] Obviously we have no problem. There is a good relationship with everyone, we are united. We were aware that the moment was not the best, we needed this victory to get on track so from now we can go up [a level].

[After a sluggish start to their season, Messi suggested Barca’s pre-season schedule has done little to help the La Liga champions start off on the right foot] We were on that road, we knew that we were in a difficult time, but in Europe all the greats have a hard time starting the season. Because of the pre-season we are feeling heavy, with the pre-season trips you don’t train well. I don’t say it as a criticism, it’s a reality. It’s understandable that the club does these games, all the great [clubs] do and it is necessary. Little by little we are going to adapt to the competition

2019 10 03b Retrieve

[Messi warns rivals he’s still building his rhythm after playing starring role in win over Inter] I’m trying to keep up, it is the first 90 minutes that I’ve been able to complete since the beginning of the season. I’m happy to have ended the match well, of course I am tired, I am missing the rhythm but like with all the team, as the matches go on I am building that rhythm. During the year I am used to playing and keeping up to the rhythm of the game because we can do very little with training. We play every week, Sunday 9484afd5836d307b314a404d745a9a68, Wednesday 9484afd5836d307b314a404d745a9a68… and so it is hard to put in strong training

2019 10 09 Retrieve

[Messi feared Neymar would go to Real Madrid after missing out on Barcelona move] I honestly thought that in this market, if he did not come here, he would go to Madrid. He was really looking forward to leaving and making a change, and he thought that Florentino Perez and Madrid would do something to sign him

I think so [he regretted the decision], shortly after he left he realised that he was wrong and that he had made a bad decision. It would be necessary to ask him but, knowing him and seeing what happened, I think so [he regretted leaving]. Having had him on the team would have given us more options but I understand that the signing of Neymar is not only looked at for sporting reasons but also for having left the way he did. There are those who didn’t want him to return - it’s understandable. It was complicated

[Ousmane Dembele was dismissed in the 4-0 win against Sevilla immediately before the international break after picking up a second yellow card for dissent towards referee Mateu Lahoz, who claimed the winger told him: ‘You are very bad’] I told the referee that it’s very difficult for Ousmane to say something like that because it’s hard for him to form sentences [in Spanish]. The coach supported me at a press conference. We were surprised that the referee understood him so clearly because it’s still difficult for him to speak Spanish

2019 10 09b Retrieve

[Lionel Messi has revealed that he almost left Barcelona in 2014 after he and his father were charged with tax fraud] I had it in my mind to leave at that time, not to leave Barcelona but to leave Spain. I felt that I was being mistreated and did not want to be here anymore. I had the door opened by many clubs but I never had an official offer because everyone knew of my previous desire to continue in Barcelona. The feeling I had went beyond what I felt for this club.

There was a time when I ended up tired by a lot of circumstances, it has happened several times, especially in 2013 and 2014, with the problems with the treasury and everything that came out. It was difficult for me and my family, many people did not know what I was going through and I heard a sector of the press helped to make this happen

Obviously I will stay if you love me. I am delighted and my idea is to stay here - nothing has changed that at all. It is increasingly clear that I will end my career here. It is my idea and that of my family, first for how I am and what I feel for the club and the city. I would not like to change the friendships of the children or their social circle, I would not like this to break. I had to live with it and I do not want it to happen to them

I always dreamed since I was little, to live the experience of playing in Argentine soccer. Everything that surrounds it there is different, with the good and the bad, but sometimes you have to think more about the family than what you want.

[Despite admitting his desire to remain with the club, Messi insists he has not spoken to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu regarding a new contract] Everything is fine with the board. The last time I spoke with President Bartomeu was after the [Champions League] elimination at Liverpool, but there is no problem with the president

2019 10 09c Retrieve

[Barcelona star Lionel Messi has admitted that he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to stay with Real Madrid] I wanted him to continue with Real Madrid. He gave a plus to the rivalry in the Clasico and La Liga. Real Madrid will continue to challenge because they have very good players, but I already said that the team was going to feel his loss for what he meant and that the squad would notice. But they have plenty of players to allow them to fight for every title and they have a lot of history

[Defending head coach Ernesto Valverde after 3-0 first-leg deficit against Liverpool] The Liverpool thing was our fault. It came after the Roma incident. We got a mental block as the Rome defeat came to mind. We got worse and worse and it wasn’t because of the coach. The club decided that he should continue and I think that for everyone it was a joy because we support him and love him, like Luis Enrique or the coaches who came before him

[Messi, who recently won the FIFA Best Male Player award for the 2018-19 season, is not targeting a record sixth Ballon d’Or] It wouldn’t be a disappointment not to win it. These awards are nice recognition, but for me they were never a priority, I would be more disappointed to spend another year without winning the Champions League - it’s been five years since we’ve done it

2019 10 09d Retrieve

[Messi: It is an obvious lie I did not want Griezmann at Barca] Obviously it is a lie that I did not want Griezmann. Last year I said he was one of the best and the best are always welcome. I also wanted Neymar to come for the same reason, because he is different - one of the best, and to have him here would have been important for our goals. But with Ney we had to look beyond sports, many parties did not want him to come [due to] everything that had happened

[Messi maintains there are no issues and knows adapting to Barcelona and the current interpretation of their famed style takes time] For any player who does not know the Barca method, coming from outside is very difficult. Griezmann is an intelligent player, of great quality, and he will end up adapting

2019 10 09e Retrieve

[When asked to name his favourite goal] I said it many times, the one in Rome in the final against Manchester United

[Asked about the toughest defences he has come up against, Messi pinpointed his matches against Premier League opposition] I could not name any in particular, but there were hard teams, such as the English who were very physical and strong. Football [against them] becomes more tactical and hard. As for who he considers the strongest rival he’s come up against, Messi pointed to the all-conquering Spain national team of 2010, adding: The Spanish team, we played a friendly at Atletico’s stadium (a 2-1 win for Spain). Maradona was our coach and it was before the 2010 World Cup when they became champions. It was one of the matches that surprised me the most

[On the most favourite match that he’s played in during his career to date] The one I remember best is the semi-final against Real Madrid that we won 2-0 (in April 2011). I don’t know if it was our best game but it was a unique memory

[Messi was also full of praise for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola] Guardiola is the best of all. Luis Enrique is a very close [second]. And the best moment of his career? It is difficult to choose one. I was fortunate to live many at different stages of my life but I think the Guardiola era was one of my best moments

2019 10 09f Retrieve

[Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele is out of the Clasico meeting with Real Madrid after he was handed a two-match domestic suspension for his comments towards referee Mateu Lahoz] I told the referee that it’s very difficult for Ousmane to say something like that because it’s hard for him to form sentences [in Spanish]. The coach supported me at a press conference. We were surprised that the referee understood him so clearly because it’s still difficult for him to speak Spanish

2019 10 11 Retrieve

[Club captain Messi then addressed Pique’s words] Geri doesn’t tell anyone ever (what he’s going to say), especially not me. So yes, it surprised me what he said. Pique’s been at the club for years and he knows how things go here, he knows that we all learn of everything. I honestly wouldn’t have said it like that because it makes it a bigger issue than it is, but it’s a lie that we have power in the dressing room

2019 10 17 Retrieve

[Messi: La Liga more important than Champions League] The Champions League is something special for us and we want to win it every year. Although we know La Liga is the most important one because that will lead you to be competitive in the Champions League and the Spanish Cup. It’s difficult when you are not doing well in La Liga and trying to do well in the Champions League. It’s true we always speak about the Champions League but we don’t forget about La Liga and the Spanish Cup because we are Barcelona and we want to win all titles

2019 10 17b Retrieve

[Lionel Messi says he has never had the need to leave the best club in the world, with Barcelona still very much part of his present and future] I’ll find out over time, because you realise by yourself when you can’t go on. I’ll be the one to say enough is enough, but I don’t know how much longer that will be. At the moment I feel good

Each of us looks for experiences that he considers to be best for himself. I have never had the need to leave the best club in the world, which is Barcelona. Here I enjoy every workout, every game and the city. Overall this is a complete experience and I have always had in mind what my goal is here without having to go looking for it elsewhere

[Messi is also happy to buck the trend when it comes to the public profile of superstar performers] I prefer that others talk about me. I know what I am, what I have done and what I can still give, but I keep it to myself. Whether others are commenting, I don’t like talking about myself. I always prefer to think of the collective

[With one goal to his name this term, he said of his physical condition] It is difficult, because in your head you feel good, strong. You think you are 25 and you can continue to do the same things you did then. But it is the body that commands you and there are situations in which you have to pay more attention than before. We need to manage matches and training differently

2019 10 17c Retrieve

[Messi lauds Van Dijk as the ultimate defender ahead of Ballon d’Or battle] He is a defender who knows how to judge his timing and wait for the right moment to challenge or jockey [the attacker]. He is very fast and big, but he has a lot of agility for his height. He is fast because of his great stride, and he is impressive both in defence and attack because he scores lots of goals

[Frenkie de Jong completed a move from Ajax to Barcelona over the summer, with the 22-year-old midfielder considered to have settled quickly in new surroundings] It has been easy for him to adapt to the team because he came from a similar philosophy at Ajax. He grew up with the same idea and the same way of playing, although there he did not have much to play as an anterior [slightly further ahead in midfield than the holding midfielder]. As a pivot [or holding midfielder] he feels more comfortable, but he has adapted well. He likes to have the ball, play short passes, play passes between the lines, and he has a very fast and strong stride. He is a very complete footballer

2019 10 18 Retrieve

[Messi says some Barcelona members opposed move for PSG star] It is difficult to bring him back. Firstly, because it was difficult to see him leave, secondly because of how he left. There are people from the club and the members who do not want him to return. If it is for sports, Neymar is one of the best in the world, but I understand all the other factors

[It has been rumoured that the talismanic forward will sign a lifetime contract, as Andres Iniesta once did, but he played down that speculation, though admitted it had been discuss] It had been talked about a while ago. I don’t want a contract to tie me up, because I don’t know how I’m going to feel. I don’t want to be [under contract] if I’m not well. I’m going to compete as long as I feel good physically, but obviously I would stay a lifetime

[Now Ronaldo has moved to Italy with Juventus and Messi admitted that his presence had made things a little more interesting] Yes, it was good when he was in the Spanish league. It made the Clasicos more special and gave them more value

2019 10 25 Retrieve

[Barcelona striker Lionel Messi he insists he wouldn’t swap any of the trophies he has won with Barcelona in order to lift the World Cup with Argentina] I would’ve loved to be a world champion. But I don’t think I would change anything else in my career to be one. This is what I was given, what God gave me. It is what it is. I couldn’t dream of everything that I experienced after. It was far bigger than anything I could’ve imagined

2019 10 27 Retrieve

[Messi doubts dream return to Newell’s Old Boys will happen amid ‘daily madness’ in Argentina] I always say that I don’t want to leave here, I have no thoughts of ​​moving. I have the dream of being able to play for Newell’s in Argentina, but I don’t know if it’s really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire. It’s a dream I’ve had since I was little, but I have a family, I have three children, I live in a place that has given me everything and where I am calm and can give my children a spectacular future. We think much more about that than my desire of playing football in Argentina. I will try to convince the family, because today we have to convince the children too

I would like to have played in Argentine football in general. I always went to the stadium with my old man, the crowd was impressive. Besides, playing in one of those Clasicos must be terrible. It’s more or less the same [as in Spain], but people live it differently. On a sporting level, the match is the same, but people in Argentina are crazier about that issue. Not winning the Clasico means a lot. Here you want to win but, if you lose, nothing happens. There, you can’t leave your house if you lose. All of the Clasicos are the same: in Rosario, in Cordoba, River-Boca, Independiente-Racing. In general people live it that way. The daily madness is carried into football and it’s a disaster. We go through qualifying [with the national team], although that’s something else. We had to go all over South America and it is also brave, they do not let you sleep, they spend the night throwing things at you all in the hotels. Libertadores matches must be much worse still

2019 10 27b Retrieve

[Lionel Messi picked his header against Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final as the standout goal] My favourite goals are more than just attractive; they are important. It was in the Champions League final and helped us to close the circle with Guardiola and win the treble, which we had never done. That goal rounded up a spectacular game

[Messi also found the net in a 2-1 win over Slavia Prague in the Champions League to make it three goals in three games, and he spoke of his knowledge of when to become involved in Barcelona’s play] It’s not that I live in front of goal. I like to come from behind, be in touch with the ball and be creative, but also arrive and score goals. I have learned to regulate myself inside the game and find the moment. There are moments when I do not have to enter the game or do not have to participate and I wait for the moment where I think it is more suitable to arrive. I have grown and I learned to read the games better, knowing what time and where to be effective and decisive, and little by little I gained that over time

2019 10 29 Retrieve

[Barcelona star Lionel Messi has admitted that he would prefer to come off the bench as a substitute rather than start and be replaced] I do not like to be replaced. I prefer to come off the bench and play less time than to be substituted. I think that because a lot of games are unlocked towards the end, or you find more space because your opponents are tired, I prefer to go into the play and enjoy the game, rather than be replaced and miss out on the best time

2019 11 02 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on former Brazil forward Ronaldo] [Ronaldo](ronaldo.html) [Nazario] was a phenomenon. Of all the strikers I ever saw, he was the best. He was impressive

2019 11 03 Retrieve

[Why Newell’s’ dreams of lining up with Messi will never come true] I don’t want to leave Barca. I dream of playing with Newell’s but I don’t know if it will happen. I have a family and they come ahead of my wishes. We will have to try and convince them. When I play with Thiago and say we are going somewhere else, he hates it. We spend a month in Argentina and he wants to go back to his friends

2019 11 03b Retrieve

[Why Newell’s’ dreams of lining up with Messi will never come true] I would have liked to play in Argentine football in general. I used to go all the time with my old man, to the stands, the terraces, it was amazing. Besides, playing one of those [Newell’s-Central] derbies must be crazy. It is more or less the same, as a sport, but people experience it differently, people in Argentina are crazier, not winning the derby means a lot. Here you want to win but if you lose it’s ok, over there you cannot leave your house if you lose a derby

The madness you see day after day carries over to football and it is a disaster. We see it in the [World Cup] qualifiers, although it is different. We had to go all over South America and it’s tough too, you can’t sleep, fans spend the whole night throwing everything at you in hotels. Libertadores games must be even worse

2019 11 03c Retrieve

[Why Newell’s’ dreams of lining up with Messi will never come true] You can get killed over a bicycle. There are robberies everywhere and you cannot even walk down the street because you have to watch out over whether something happens. I know there are a lot more problems in Argentina but safety is essential

2019 11 14 Retrieve

[Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy] The CONMEBOL people are going to have to do something. They were constantly giving stupid things: handballs, nonsense penalties and here they didn’t look at VAR. We had two clear penalties that weren’t given… the referee wasn’t fair

2019 11 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi was in high spirits after he secured victory for Argentina over Brazil on his return to international football] The rivalry is lived more than ever and it is always good to beat Brazil. When you win, you work better. The ideas of the coach are carried out on the pitch in another way and it is positive for what is coming

There is little left for the qualifiers. There is a good team feeling. On the defensive level we made a big effort

2019 11 23 Retrieve

[Messi: Ballon d’Or is a beautiful recognition] It is a beautiful recognition and perhaps the most special was the first. It is something that comes from the collective. Without having achieved all the collective successes that we had to achieve, I wouldn’t have been able to get these individual awards

[Messi said that the 2010 Ballon d’Or is among his favourites] The image of the three nominees for the Ballon d’Or, it was special for us because of the friendship we have. Being so long in the same club, all three living practically the same during our whole careers and special for the club. For what it means, the truth, it was impressive

2019 11 23b Retrieve

[Messi opens up on difficult start to life at Barcelona] I was in Barcelona for about 15 days and then I returned to Argentina. After a few months, they called me and I said yes, that I was willing to come. Let me come here and start my dream in Barcelona. It was a happiness for me and my family

I was looking forward to knowing if I was going to come here. The truth is that at that time I did not understand the great change I was going to be making. I was a boy. All I wanted was to come to Barcelona and play. I was not aware of the difficulty of changing and how hard it was going to be for me and my family.

At the start, the truth is that it was tough, it was hard. The most beautiful thing is to play and not being able to play was really difficult. In the middle, I went through injuries too. When I was able to play here after two, three or four months, I got injured in my first game and I was out for another month and a half. They were hard times, but it never crossed my mind to go home. My brothers had gone to Argentina, my sister’s adaptation was the toughest of all, she was the smallest and it was hard for them, with school and everything. They decided that my mother would go to Argentina with her. I was alone, and they asked me what I wanted to do, if we stayed or left, that the decision was mine and that they would support me. I was always clear that I wanted to stay

2019 12 03 Retrieve

[Messi claims he can become even better after winning sixth Ballon d’Or] I would like to thank the journalists who voted for me and have chosen me. And that allowed me to have this distinction. I want to thank my teammates in my club. This is remarkable. Thank you so much. A few years ago, I received my first Ballon d’Or in Paris. And it was unthinkable what I was living at the time. Now I have a sixth. It’s a different moment. I want to thank my family and my children. My wife told me that I must never stop dreaming, working, improving and have fun. I want to thank God. I’m happy to live this, on a personal level and also on the sporting side. I try every time to improve myself. I have the belief that I can always do more. This prize is always special, but what matters most is collective success

[Messi went on to say that he hopes to secure more Ballons d’Or in the future] I could not imagine it. I would never have thought of winning even one. But I am very happy. It’s a recognition that makes me proud. Maybe I will win more. Maybe, I do not know when. Kylian Mbappe could too. Surely he’s a great player

2019 12 03b Retrieve

[Messi: It hurt when Cristiano Ronaldo won his fifth Ballon d’Or] On the one hand, I enjoyed having five and being the only one. When Cristiano moved level, I admit that it hurt me a bit. I was no longer alone at the top. But it made sense, although it was good when I was alone at five. Was I frustrated in the last few years? Let’s say I understood why I did not win. As a team, we had not achieved our major goal, which was to win the Champions League, which gives you more chances to win the Ballon d’Or.

When Cristiano Ronaldo won it is because he had achieved great seasons by winning the Champions League and being decisive. It was deserved, there was not much I could do. Did I feel injustice? It’s up to you to tell me if the Ballon d’Or is awarded to the best player or the one who enjoys the best season. It is also down to individual taste. Some prefer Cristiano, others myself or Neymar or Kylian Mbappe. People have the right to choose the one they like most

[Messi added on the emotions of a man who has helped him to take his own game to even greater heights] Do I understand Ronaldo’s frustration? It is something that we live, feel and express according to our own way of being. Once again, the collective titles are the most important thing, even if the individual trophies are rewarding. When the Ballon d’Or eludes you, everyone reacts in their own way. But when you are a top athlete, you always want to win

[Messi finds himself back at the summit of the global game and intends to make the most of such a standing at 32 years of age] It is exceptional to win the Ballon d’Or four years in a row, and win another 10 years after the first, it puts into perspective the longevity of my career. It’s hard to stay competitive for a decade. I was lucky to be able to do it

2019 12 03c Retrieve

[Messi: Retirement is approaching but Barcelona should have no exit fears] I’m aware of how old I am. And I enjoy these moments so much because I know that retirement is approaching. Time flies.

I hope, God willing, that I keep playing for many more year. I’m now 32, though, and will be 33 at the end of the season, so, as I said, everything depends on how I feel physically. Right now I feel better than ever on a physical and a personal level, and I hope I can go on for a lot longer

[Messi try to calm any fears regarding his contract] Barca know me and know there’s no type of problem with these issues. [My commitment] goes beyond a contract. What I feel for this club is [worth] more than any signature on a piece of paper, so there’s no issue

2019 12 04 Retrieve

[Messi’s mum Celia Cuccittini surprised by Ballon d’Or award: We thought the fifth would be his last] I’m super happy, we did not expect to win the prize. We thought that the fifth would be the last, so this was a beautiful surprise. He always excites me. He does not stop surprising us every day with what he achieves. And, on top of that, what a person he is, which is the main thing

[While Cuccittini accepts that it is inevitable that no-one is perfect] You can criticise without offending or without making fun. And as a mother that obviously hurts. Obviously not everyone has to like him. The whole family already knows that we owe Argentina a debt. But who more than Lionel wants to win a World Cup or a Copa America? Of course it can be said when he plays badly. We do it ourselves. We tell him, I tell him

2019 12 05 Retrieve

[Messi voted for Sadio Mane to win The Best award & says it’s a ‘shame’ he was fourth in Ballon d’Or voting] It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place. But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That’s why it was difficult to choose a particular player. But I chose Sadio Mane (for The Best award) because he’s a player that I like. Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That’s why I chose him. I repeat, there were a lot of very great players this year, so the choice was difficult

2019 12 10 Retrieve

[Barcelona to get a glimpse of their bleak Messi-less future] I am aware of how old I am. I enjoy these moments so much because I know that retirement is approaching. Time flies

2019 12 11 Retrieve

[Barcelona have lost three and drawn one of their 15 games this season, while Madrid have drawn four and lost one. Messi thinks those mixed results display that the strength of the teams across the league has improved] Everything is becoming more and more even. They have been for several years and we notice that there is more equality, that any team beats any other team, which is increasingly difficult to play as an away team. The teams have become stronger at home because they know that in order to achieve their goals they must do it well at home. This makes everything more equal and more complicated

[Messi has one eye on the season’s first El Clasico with Madrid on December 18] I expect a very strong Real Madrid. They have shown it in the last matches, in La Liga and in the Champions League. Barca v Madrid and Madrid v Barca are always special matches. It doesn’t matter how the teams arrive, although it’s true that we both go into it at a good time

2019 12 11b Retrieve

[Messi: Barcelona must ‘start from scratch’ after previous Champions League pain] To be honest, it’s always there. But we have to start from scratch. It’s a new year, a new competition. Obviously we have to learn from mistakes, but to think of the present and the future. We must forget what happened last year and the year before, it would be a mistake to think of that

2019 12 17 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi has opened up on a number of issues, including why Barcelona seem to perform better against their rivals when they play at Santiago Bernabeu] When we play at the Bernabeu, many more spaces are generated. They attack us more because they have the obligation as the host team and people push them for that. At the Camp Nou, they play another type of match, sitting a little further back, they are closer together and hit on the counter-attack because they have very fast players upfront. At the Bernabeu, we play 90 minutes equally. Here the game becomes more locked and is more complicated

[When asked if the Belgian is capable of filling the void Ronaldo left in Madrid’s line-up in the long-term] Hazard has a lot of quality. He is a different football player who can unbalance [defences], but I think he is different to Cristiano, with different characteristics. It is very difficult to replace Cristiano, but Hazard is also a great player

Actually I think we are all very important. There are times when it’s another teammate’s turn to play and I think you have to take it in the best possible way, being aware that the most important thing is that everyone in the dressing room feels important because we need everyone motivated to achieve the targets

2019 12 26 Retrieve

[Messi reveals depths of set-piece success following prolific Barcelona haul] Recently I have been looking into it, and especially in free-kicks, to see if they move before, if they make a small movement, if not, how they react, how they place the wall. It’s true that I am now studying this a bit more. But everything is work and training, I have been getting better with training

[Messi said the 432 goals that make him the league’s all-time record scorer fill him with pride] To be the top historical scorer [in] La Liga, with what the Spanish league means, is special. To be honest I think that this is one of the best records I have. Every time I go out on the pitch, I think less about the goal and more about the game

The first few years, it was difficult for me to score goals; either I was missing or I didn’t have any luck

[He remembered a pep talk from [Samuel Eto’o](samuel-eto-o.html), who predicted the floodgates would eventually open] because you have a lot of chances and you don’t finish them. Then one day it clicked, they went in

2020 01 09 Retrieve

[Messi fuming over Barcelona’s ‘childish mistakes’ in Supercopa loss] It is a shame, we played a great game, after so long we felt good again, we were in control, dominated and attacked all the time. We let it slip through certain mistakes when [Atletico] were already almost dead, in less than 10 minutes they turned round a game that we should have seen out. It hurts because it is a title and we wanted to be in the final and win it, we showed a different side to what we have been showing recently against Espanyol and at the end of last year, we played a good game but sadly we couldn’t get the victory. We have taken a step forward today despite the defeat but we are aware that we have not been doing things the way we want, we do not want to make these childish mistakes again

[Messi admitted that the pressure was on, but called on the Catalans to show a united front as they prepare for the final months of the 2019-20 season] We will keep working and trying to improve, now we will have more days to prepare for the next game, we have to improve a lot and despite the fact that we have not been playing well we will try to get our play back. It is normal when there are defeats and we don’t achieve our goals, the fans see that their team isn’t playing as they would like, as we would like, it is normal for them to speak out but we have to be more together than ever, it is a difficult situation because we let slip a title that we wanted to win but we have to look forward

2020 01 10 Retrieve

[Messi: Ernesto Valverde not to blame for Barca’s Supercopa loss] We will keep working and trying to improve, now we will have more days to prepare for the next game, we have to improve a lot and despite the fact that we have not been playing well we will try to get our play back. It is normal when there are defeats and we don’t achieve our goals, the fans see that their team isn’t playing as they would like, as we would like, it is normal for them to speak out but we have to be more together than ever. It is a difficult situation because we let slip a title that we wanted to win but we have to look forward

2020 01 14 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi has wished Ernesto Valverde luck for the future after the coach left Barcelona] Thanks for everything, gaffer. I’m sure everything will go well for you wherever you go because, as well as being a top professional, you’re also a top person. Good luck and a big hug

2020 01 15 Retrieve

[Messi reveals how he honed his free-kick technique as he admits to frustration over missed penalties] Before, I got comfortable and took them for the sake of it. I tried, of course, to get it over the wall and put it into the net, but I did it without thinking. That was until I practiced them, picking up habits with my positioning, my steps, how I hit the ball, and trying to use my foot in different ways and seeing how it worked out

[Messi admits new habit of studying the opposing goalkeeper] Before I didn’t [study the goalkeeper]. I was hindered when it came to have to shoot or a one-on-one situation. There were situations in which things you’ve seen come to mind, and it makes you have doubts. Doubts make you go wrong. Recently I’ve looked at it again, above all looking at free-kicks to see if there is movement before, if I should take a step or not, how to react, how the wall blocks. Now I study it a little more

[Though Messi said he also studies other free-kick takers, he believes that he is limited in what he is able to learn] I watch free-kick takers. But I think that each player has their own way of taking them and it’s very difficult to copy someone else. I think that each player has to do it their way, and try what they feel is best. It’s very difficult to look and copy. You have to train to see what is best for each player

[His miss in the 2016 Copa America final caused him to retire from international duty] I missed a lot of penalties and that bothers me; I want to improve it, and the way to do that is by training and also looking at the opposition – just like I’m sure they study me. Knowing things about the opposition helps you to gain an advantage. It bothers me but doesn’t worry me. I also understand that it’s part of the game, and sometimes it’s even more difficult when you take a lot of them in a row, because everybody studies everything. Goalkeepers are much faster than before, much better prepared, have much more strength in their legs, and that means that it is more difficult to take penalties

2020 01 15b Retrieve

[Messi talks through positional evolution at Barca] I got to play one or two years of 11-a-side football in Argentina with Newells, and there I played behind the playmaker. When I arrived at Barca we had a 3-4-3 formation, which was tricky for me because I was playing in the upper part of the diamond. I was a playmaker used to what I’d been doing since I was little, moving around with a lot of freedom. And sometimes I played on the wing

[Upon his graduation to the first team, Messi was again played out of position for his debut under then-boss Frank Rijkaard] The reality is that I didn’t have another choice and I was put onto the right. Rijkaard played me on the right, which was a completely new position for me. I’d never played there before. I had to start off on that side, and I slowly got used to it. I was delighted, because I was playing – and what you want is to play, wherever it is. I slowly grew fond of that position. I got used to it quickly actually, because playing on my opposite foot meant I could bring it onto my strong foot when I went inside, and it was easy for me to cut in and have a view of the pitch ahead of me. I quickly got used to it in that sense. At that time, we played with [Ludovic] Giuly, [Samuel Eto’o](samuel-eto-o.html) and Ronaldinho, and then I began to come into the side. Later on, I began to be used much more, and it was more common to see inverted wingers

I remember that it was a surprise for me, because I was called up the day before the game, was made to go to Guardiola’s office at the Ciutat Esportiva, and I was told that he had been watching Madrid’s games a lot, as he did with every opponent. He had been talking with Tito Vilanova and they had thought about me playing as a false nine. He was going to put Samuel and Thierry Henry on the outside, and I was going to play as the false centre forward

I wasn’t going to stay there, but rather come out and join up with the central midfield. The idea was that Madrid’s centre backs would follow me out, and the two fast wingers that we had would go around the back. In fact, one of Henry’s goals was like that. It was a surprise for us and for Madrid. I remember that we had a lot of possession, and we always had an extra man in the middle of the park.

I’d never played as a centre forward, but I knew that position because it meant coming through from deep to get forward, without being a static number 9. It wasn’t a big change for me. I’d been playing on the outside for years, and so I knew what that position was about.

[Now entering the final years of his career at the very top, Messi says he is still adapting his game to suit the needs of the team] I’ve got used to playing a little deeper in recent years, picking the ball up and joining up with the midfielders to have more possession. That also happened when we didn’t have Xavi or Andrés Iniesta anymore, as with them we had a lot of possession during the entire game. When they weren’t there I began to drop back a little more to try to get numerical superiority, always with the idea of arriving and trying to score as well

2020 01 15c Retrieve

[Messi: I think less and less about scoring goals every day] I think less and less about scoring goals. I’m starting to step back more and more to be the creator rather than the one who finishes. Obviously I like scoring and If have a chance I’ll take it, but every time I go on to the pitch I’m less focused on scoring goals and more focused on the game. I’ve never been obsessed with goals. I understand that people will talk about it when I stop scoring so many, but that’s part of the game, part of growing as a player and adapting to the times, to be the best player both for yourself and for the team.

There was a time I didn’t score many goals. I always scored goals both for Argentina and for Barcelona’s youth team, but I had a hard time scoring during the first few years I played in the first team. I would either make mistakes or I was unlucky. I had so many chances but I couldn’t score, until one day everything clicked and the ball started going in. It took me a few years before that happened. I remember [Samuel] Eto’o told me: ‘the day you start scoring, you won’t stop’

2020 01 15d Retrieve

[Messi picks surprise defender as his toughest man-marker] There are ugly games and strange games. Games in which you always have a man close to you. It doesn’t happen to me much. But it doesn’t bother me either. Those are strange, different games. Depending on how the game is going, we [Messi and his man-marker] will say something to each other

[Messi said when asked about the toughest man-marker he has faced] I don’t remember, truly. The one from Girona [Maffeo], maybe. That was exaggerated

I never complained about it. I think that contact and kicks are part of football. It does bother me when the tackles have bad intentions. If that isn’t the case, then it’s part of the game and I don’t take it badly

2020 01 15e Retrieve

[Messi speaks openly about ‘special La Liga duel’ with Cristiano Ronaldo] It was a duel that will last forever because it went on for many years, and it isn’t easy to keep at your highest level for so long – especially at those two clubs we were at, which were so demanding, in Madrid and Barca, the best in the world. Competing head to head for so many years will be remembered forever. The sporting rivalry between us was very nice on a personal level. I think that the fans also enjoyed it, be they Madrid or Barca supporters, and those who just like football will also have enjoyed it

When Cristiano was at Madrid, games against them were always special. Real Madrid, because of what those games mean, made it much more special, but those times are behind us and things go on

2020 01 15f Retrieve

[Messi reveals the ‘special’ La Liga record he considers one of his best] The La Liga goalscoring record is something very important and meaningful. Some spectacular players have played in this league, the best in the world, and to be the highest goalscorer in this league, with what La Liga represents, is special. I think that it’s one of the nicest records that I hold. I’ve spent many, many years in this league, many seasons. I don’t know if any other striker has been here as long as me. It’s helped me to continue growing in terms of goals, and it’s an honour to be part of the history of La Liga

2020 01 18 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on the rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo when the pair were both playing in Spain] It was a special duel, and it will remain forever because it lasted many years and it is not easy to maintain certain levels for a long time. Plus, the teams we played in were also very demanding, both Real Madrid and Barça, the two best in the world

2020 01 31 Retrieve

[Now Messi likes to drop deep and control the ball in the middle, playing passes for others] I think less and less about scoring goals. I’m starting to step back more and more to be the creator rather than the one who finishes. Obviously I like scoring, and if have a chance I’ll take it, but every time I go on to the pitch I’m less focused on scoring goals and more focused on the game. I’ve never been obsessed with goals. I understand that people will talk about it when I stop scoring so many, but that’s part of the game, part of growing as a player and adapting to the times, to be the best player both for yourself and for the team

2020 02 05 Retrieve

[Shortly after Abidal’s interview was released, Messi took to Instagram to hit back, along with a picture of Abidal’s quote about the players not working hard] Sincerely, I don’t like to do these things but I think that people have to be responsible for their jobs and own their decisions.

The players (are responsible) for what happens on the pitch and we are the first to admit when we haven’t been good. The heads of the sports department have to take their responsibilities too and above all own the decisions they make

Finally I think that when you talk about players, you have to give names because if not, it makes everyone dirty and gives air to things that are said which are not true

2020 02 17 Retrieve

[Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton became the first joint-winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year] I would like to thank the Academy for giving me this recognition. The truth is that this is a very important and special award. I am honoured to be the first to win this award being a sportsperson coming from a team sport and not an individual sport, which is usually the case. Thank you very much. For me it’s a huge delight to be part of this award and the first team player to receive it. Of course, I would like to thank my team-mates, my family and the fans who support me. Thanks to them this kind of individual recognition is possible

2020 02 17b Retrieve

[Messi is contracted at Camp Nou for a further season with speculation of a transfer away surfacing] I’m aware of how old I am and I enjoy these moments so much because I know that retirement is approaching. Time flies. I hope, God willing, that I keep playing for many more years. I’m now 32, though, and will be 33 at the end of the season, so, as I said, everything depends on how I feel physically. Right now I feel better than ever on a physical and a personal level, and I hope I can go on for a lot longer

2020 02 19 Retrieve

[Messi speaks out on Barcelona social media scandal] It really took me a bit by surprise because I wasn’t here and I was just travelling. When I got back I learned a little about everything. The president told us the same thing he said in public - the same thing he said at the press conference. What was the situation, what had happened and I can’t say much more. Just as you know everything he said, he told the captains the same in private. It’s weird that something like this happens, but they also said that there would be evidence. We will have to wait to see if it is true or not. We cannot say much and we will wait to see what happens with all of this. I really thought it was a strange subject

I love Barcelona but I also miss Rosario a lot. This is my home, I’ve spent more time here than I did in Argentina. I love Barcelona, the place where I live in Castelldefels and I have a life that I like very much

2020 02 20 Retrieve

[Play Never Stops – Messi show off epic skills in new Pepsi ad] With a new team of players, exciting challenges, and a fun and creative film, the campaign will definitely not disappoint

2020 02 20b Retrieve

[Messi says Neymar wants Barca return] I say it many times, at the sports level, Ney is one of the best in the world and I would love for him to return. He is really looking forward to coming back, he always seemed sorry [after leaving]. He did a lot to return and that would be the first step to try to arrive

It is normal for people to see him that way because of the way he left, it also bothered me at the time, we tried to convince him not to. But in the end, we all want to win and have the best. We and the people. As I said before, he is one of the best and contributed for us a lot on the pitch. But it is understandable that people think like that, since he left in a way they did not like

[Messi knows Martinez well as the pair are international team-mates for Argentina] He is spectacular, he has impressive conditions. He was seen to be a great player, now he exploded and is showing it. He is very strong. He has a very good one against one, he has a lot of goals, in the area he fights with anyone. Lautaro has a lot of quality. He is very complete

I wish they could all come and fight it all, and the Champions League. Lautaro has much resemblance to Luis.

2020 02 20c Retrieve

[Despite being supposed long-time rivals, Messi recently praised Cristiano Ronaldo’s continued ability to find the back of the net] It’s normal that he continues to score, he is a predatory striker, he loves to score, any day he plays he will score. He has many good attributes as a forward and at the minimum he converts

2020 02 20d Retrieve

[Messi: Cristiano Ronaldo is a predatory striker and it’s only normal when he scores] It’s normal that he continues to score, he is a predatory striker, he loves to score, any day he plays he will score. He has many good attributes as a forward and at the minimum he converts

[Messi himself admitting he’s feeling good despite his advancing age] The reality is that one is turning years old and does not know, but I feel very good, better than in previous years, and that I am not making goals, but on a physical level and legs I feel very good

[Asked if he could play on until he’s 40] We will see, we will see

[Barcelona are currently one point shy of Real Madrid] It is true that it is a year that in the league both Madrid and we are being very irregular, where we lost many points and in that sense I think we will be fighting until the end and that the league does not end after El Classico, whatever happens. There will be important matches. We have hard outings and they do too. Afterwards, it is true that if we want to qualify for the Champions League we have to continue growing a lot, because I think that today it is not enough for us to fight for the Champions League

2020 02 20e Retrieve

[Messi: It would be screwed if Man City’s players miss out on Champions League] It is surprising because nobody thought that such a thing could happen, so powerful. Paris [Paris Saint-Germain] paid a fine or I don’t know how it went. If in the end City does not play the Champions League for what it is, with the players, the club, and the money it spends, it will be weird. If City does not enter the Champions League there are many players who may look for an exit or perhaps not. The Champions League is very attractive so two years without playing it is screwed

The truth is that no, I find no explanation, especially for Liverpool. Rome can happen once and grabs you by surprise, but that it happens again the following year with the result that we had and that is more or less similar to what had happened is difficult to explain

All are complicated and difficult. Paris went to play Dortmund and lost, Liverpool went to the Atletico field and lost, but I think, like that and everything, Liverpool, Juventus, Paris and Real Madrid are the strongest today

2020 02 22 Retrieve

[After the publishing of allegations that Josep Bartomeu had hired a social media company to attack past and present Blaugrana favourites] It’s weird that something like this happens, but they also said that there would be evidence. We will have to wait to see if it is true or not. We cannot say much and we will wait to see what happens with all of this. I really thought it was a strange subject

2020 03 14 Retrieve

[Messi self-isolating in ‘complicated’ & worrying times as Barcelona stars break during coronavirus pandemic] Given the healthcare situation and according to the recommendations of the club’s medical staff, the first team has suspended all activity until further notice

2020 03 17 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi remains at home in isolation mode with his children] Health must always come first. It is an exceptional moment and you must follow the instructions of both health organisations and public authorities. Only in this way can we combat it effectively. It is time to be responsible and stay at home, it is also a perfect opportunity to enjoy that time with those that you cannot always be around. #QuedateEnCasa #StayAtHome

2020 03 21 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi’s contract explained: Could he leave to Man City, Man Utd or anywhere else for free?] He is a player from Barcelona and he will stay there, that’s my wish for him to stay there. I’m not going to talk about players playing for other clubs. I think he will finish his career there, that’s my wish

A lot of players were not happy and did not work much and there was also a problem with internal communication. The relationship between the coach and dressing room was always good, but there are things that as an ex-player I can sense. I told the club what I thought and we had to make a decision

[Messi was not happy with Abidal’s comments, and told his former team-mate to either name names or not say anything in public] I honestly do not like to do this kind of thing but I think that everyone has to be responsible for their job and take responsibility for their decisions. Players are responsible for what happens on the field, we are also the first to acknowledge when we don’t play well. Those in charge of sporting direction should also face up to their responsibilities and above all take charge of their own decisions. Lastly, I think that when you talk about players, you should give names because otherwise you are tainting everyone’s name and feeding rumours that spread and are not true

2020 03 24 Retrieve

[What are Lionel Messi & his family doing in coronavirus quarantine?] These are complicated days for everyone. We live worried about what is happening and want to help by removing ourselves from the places where those are having the worst of it, either because it directly affected them or their family and friends, or because they are working on the front line to combat it in hospitals and health centres. I want to send a lot of strength to all of them. Health must always come first. It is an exceptional moment and you must follow the instructions of both health organisations and public authorities. Only in this way can we combat it effectively. It is time to be responsible and stay at home, it is also a perfect opportunity to enjoy that time with those that you cannot always be around. A hug and hopefully we can turn this situation around as soon as possible

2020 03 26 Retrieve

[Messi has long dreamed of lifting the World Cup] I would’ve loved to be a world champion. But I don’t think I would change anything else in my career to be one. This is what I was given, what God gave me. It is what it is. I couldn’t dream of everything that I experienced after. It was far bigger than anything I could’ve imagined

2020 03 30 Retrieve

[Messi confirms Barcelona players will take 70 per cent pay cuts during coronavirus crisis] We fully understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are always the first ones to help the club when asked

Much has been written and said about the Barcelona team in regards to the salaries of the players during this state of emergency. We want to clarify that our will has always been to take a cut in the salary we receive, because we fully understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are always the first ones to help the club when asked. Therefore, it does not surprise us that from within the club there were those who tried to put us under pressure to do something we always knew we would do. The agreement has been delayed for a few days because we were looking for a formula to help the club and its workers during these difficult times. Apart from the reduction of 70 per cent from our salary, we will also make contributions so that club employees can collect 100 per cent of their salary while this situation lasts. We do not want to say goodbye without sending an affectionate greeting and a lot of strength to all those having a hard time in these very difficult times, as well as to all those who patiently await the end of this crisis in their homes. Very soon we are going to get out of this and we will all do it together

2020 03 31 Retrieve

[On articles printed in recent days claiming that the players were reluctant to agree to the salary cut] It didn’t surprise us that inside the club there are some trying to put us under the microscope and pressure us into doing something that we were always clear we would do

2020 03 31b Retrieve

[One accompanying myth holds that Messi went as far as to flirt with taking up a place in the Spain team before ultimately plumping for the Albiceleste] I never doubted for a second. We did everything. We used to send videos and things of mine all the time so that I would be recognised [in Argentina] and have the chance to be seen, to see if I could get a call-up or not

2020 04 04 Retrieve

[Messi has been in the headlines recently after he and his Barcelona team-mates agreed to have 70 per cent of their wages slashed] Much has been written and said about the Barcelona team in regards to the salaries of the players during this state of emergency. We want to clarify that our will has always been to take a cut in the salary we receive, because we fully understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are always the first ones to help the club when asked. Therefore, it does not surprise us that from within the club there were those who tried to put us under pressure to do something we always knew we would do. The agreement has been delayed for a few days because we were looking for a formula to help the club and its workers during these difficult times. Apart from the reduction of 70 per cent from our salary, we will also make contributions so that club employees can collect 100 per cent of their salary while this situation lasts. We do not want to say goodbye without sending an affectionate greeting and a lot of strength to all those having a hard time in these very difficult times, as well as to all those who patiently await the end of this crisis in their homes. Very soon we are going to get out of this and we will all do it together

2020 04 08 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi on Ronaldinho] Without him and his positive aura, Barca would not have been nearly as successful at the time. He was joy personified, he infected every team-mate with his laugh. That being said, I’ve never seen a better dribbler than him. He nibbled us all in training. I will never forget when I arrived very early in the conference room of our hotel before a league game with the other nominated youth players and the professionals went to their seats one after the other. In the end there was only one chair left behind - Ronaldinho. And when he strolled into the room just barely on time, he suddenly pointed his finger at me and accused me of sitting in his place. So I got up intimidated and went back. Ultimately, it was just a joke from Ronaldinho and everyone started to laugh. He was always kidding us, especially me. For me [being at Barcelona] felt like being in the land of milk and honey. Young players were given certain values like humility and respect, but we didn’t have to worry about anything. The team included so many great personalities such as Carles Puyol, Fernando Navarro or Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who all knew what it was like to come from La Masia to the professional squad and to earn a living just among many world stars

2020 04 09 Retrieve

[Messi makes furious double denial over Inter and Ronaldinho rumours] Lie 1: Messi to Inter, Lie 2: Messi gave money to Ronaldinho in jail. What they said about Newell’s Old Boys a few weeks ago is also false, thank God no one believed them

2020 04 10 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi’s reputation with the continental tournament, however, has been tarnished after his controversial claims that the 2019 Copa America was rigged in favour of hosts Brazil] There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil. I hope the VAR and referees don’t play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me. I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn’t have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America. We could have gone further but we weren’t allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football

2020 04 10b Retrieve

[A match made in heaven: Lautaro Martinez is the perfect partner for Messi at Barca] He is spectacular, he has incredible talent, you could see he was going to be a great player and now he has exploded and is showing it. He is very strong, he is brilliant in one-on-one situations, he scores goals, he takes on anyone in the area. He holds the ball up, he pivots, he goes looking for the ball. He has so much talent, he is a complete player

2020 04 11 Retrieve

[Spanish radio network Cadena SER claimed that an independent social media company had been contracted by Barca to boost the public profile of the Barca president and his board members] It’s weird that something like this happens, but they also said that there would be evidence. We will have to wait to see if it is true or not. We cannot say much and we will wait to see what happens with all of this

2020 04 11b Retrieve

[Messi had reacted furiously to technical director Eric Abidal’s suggestion that some players had played a part in Valverde’s dismissal because they had not tried hard enough] I honestly do not like to do this kind of thing but I think that everyone has to be responsible for their job and take responsibility for their decisions. Players are responsible for what happens on the field, we are also the first to acknowledge when we don’t play well. Those in charge of sporting direction should also face up to their responsibilities and above all take charge of their own decisions

[It was claimed in certain sections of the press that the players were refusing to agree to wage reductions] Much has been written and said about the Barcelona first team in relation to the players’ salaries during this state of alarm. Before going any further, we want to make it clear that we were always willing to reduce our salaries because we understand perfectly that we are in an exceptional situation. We, as players, are always here to help the club when they ask. Sometimes, we have done things on our own initiative during times when we felt it necessary and important. It didn’t surprise us that inside the club there are some trying to put us under the microscope and pressure us into doing something that we were always clear we would do. In fact, if the agreement came a little late it is because we have been looking for the formula to help the club and also the workers of the club at this difficult time. For our part, the moment has arrived to say that the cut will be 70 per cent of our wage during the state of alarm. We will also help out the club in order for the workers to be paid 100% of their wages. If we didn’t speak until now, it’s because the priority was to find solutions to help the club and to see who the most affected were during this situation. We don’t want to sign off without giving a massive salute and our strength to all of the cules who are going through a bad moment in these difficult times and those waiting patiently in their homes until this crisis is over. Soon, we will come out on the other side of this and we will all join together.

2020 04 13 Retrieve

[Messi honours health workers fighting coronavirus crisis] Yesterday the World Health Worker Week came to an end and, together with @unicef, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the work they do. Anonymous heroes who endure long days and nights away from their families, so that ours can be safe from #COVID19. For continuing, despite everything, their noble commitment to caring for pregnant women, and keeping children and adolescents protected. #YoMeQuedoEnCasa #StayAtHome #Unicef

2020 04 22 Retrieve

[Italian nutritionist Giuliano Poser has revolutionised the Argentina international’s diet since working with him in 2014] Also very good are nuts and seeds. [Sugar] is the worst thing for the muscles. The farther he stays away from sugars, the better. Refined flours are also a big problem as these days, it’s difficult to find uncontaminated wheat. The amount of meat normally eaten by Argentinians and Uruguayans is too much, as it is difficult to digest. My methods are not in doubt, everyone can see Leo week in, week out

2020 04 22b Retrieve

[Athletes’ Performance Craig Friedman, however, has explained the natural phenomena behind Messi’s speed and agility] First you have to be explosive and powerful. Then, you have to be stable enough through your ankles, hips and torso to be able to deliver that power efficiently into the ground. And finally, you have to deliver the power into the ground in the right direction, and that’s where technique comes in

He’s a small guy but his rate of force development is very high and his power-to-weight ratio is just ridiculous

2020 04 26 Retrieve

[In recent years the disappointment has been so bitter that he has retired from international duty before reversing his decision. But if he had the ability to, Messi wouldn’t swap club triumphs for success with the national team] I would’ve loved to be a world champion. But I don’t think I would change anything else in my career to be one. This is what I was given, what God gave me. It is what it is. I couldn’t dream of everything that I experienced after. It was far bigger than anything I could’ve imagined

2020 04 27 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi did not contract the virus, but the Argentine did issue a statement of support to those in distress while in isolation with his family] These are complicated days for everyone. We live worried about what is happening and want to help by removing ourselves from the places where those are having the worst of it, either because it directly affected them or their family and friends, or because they are working on the front line to combat it in hospitals and health centres. I want to send a lot of strength to all of them

2020 05 04 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?] It was a duel that will last forever because it went on for many years, and it isn’t easy to keep at your highest level for so long – especially at those two clubs we were at, which were so demanding, in Real Madrid and Barcelona, the best clubs in the world. Competing head to head for so many years will be remembered forever. The sporting rivalry between us was very nice on a personal level. I think that the fans also enjoyed it, be they Madrid or Barca supporters, or just those who like football

2020 05 14 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi’s cousin Maxi Biancucchi has explained how the Barcelona star found a way to cope with being smaller than oppposition players from a young age] In the neighbourhood he played with us, we were bigger than him, and they told us: ‘Crazy, get him out because we are going to kill him.’ They wanted to hit him, but he put up with it. When he was eight or nine, I would get up early on Saturdays to watch him play and he’d do impressive things. I could not believe it

Leo has a lot of love for Argentina, people never understand that. If it were not for insecurity, I have no doubt that he would play in Argentina, that is the only thing that can affect him when it comes to him returning. It is my dream to be able to see Leo at Newell, but I see it as complicated. It is difficult, imagine that Messi plays a Classico, the kids have to go to school…the city is hell.

[Messi admitted last year he does dream of returning to Newell’s but stressed his family comes first] I have the dream of being able to play for Newell’s in Argentina, but I don’t know if it’s really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire. It’s a dream I’ve had since I was little, but I have a family, I have three children, I live in a place that has given me everything and where I am calm and can give my children a spectacular future. We think much more about that than my desire of playing football in Argentina. I will try to convince the family, because today we have to convince the children too

2020 05 14b Retrieve

[Messi hails Lautaro as an ‘impressive striker’ as Barcelona rumours continue] If I’m honest I don’t know very well if there were or are negotiations right now, I have no idea. I think I already mentioned it, that Lautaro is an impressive striker, especially because I think he is a very complete forward. He is strong, he dribbles well, he scores goals, he knows how to protect the ball …But well, we will have to see what happens finally with him and with other players

2020 05 15 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi insisted Barcelona cannot win the Champions League unless they improve their performances] I never doubted the squad we have and I have no doubt that we can win all that remains, but not by playing in the way we were playing. Now, everyone has their opinion and they are all very respectable. Mine is based on the fact that I was lucky to play the Champions League every year and I know that it is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing. Perhaps Setien misunderstood

This break may end up benefiting us, but we are going to see if they can start the competitions and there we will leave doubts, because we will check the level that we have or can reach when we start. Going back to training is a first step but we should not trust ourselves and we must continue taking all the necessary precautions and assume that we have to start playing the games when they arrive but behind closed doors. Personally I am looking forward to the competitions. We know that everything is going to be weird, without fans in the stadium and with the theme of the concentrations that we really would not like to have to be separated from our families. You have to see how it looks

Physically I feel very well. I was training at home these days and I think it helped me to keep fit. Very hard confinement, but with the children and with Antonela everything ends up becoming moments that I try to enjoy all together

2020 05 19 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi has called Inter striker Lautaro Martinez and wants him by his side soon] Messi called him and wants him by his side soon, I have no doubt. For that reason, the deal to sign him is almost there. I know things will go well in Barcelona and that Lautaro will be an excellent replacement for Suarez. He’s the ideal heir. Thanks to Barca he will continue to grow as a player and a man. In terms of Argentine players, he has the same qualities as Sergio Aguero. I think he’s on that path and will have a successful career like him. I would even say Lautaro is better in the air and much better with his left foot, but he will have to prove that with time. I hope he can. Going to play with the best player in the world, who is still 32 and has three or four years ahead of him… to be Messi’s team-mate can make him even better and help him with the national team. Lautaro and Leo will improve their understanding on the pitch

[On the ability that he noted at a young age, with Real Madrid snubbed along the way] I will never forget it. It was November 2013 and there were trials. Fabio Radaelli and Alfredo Acosta saw him on one of the teams and called me immediately: ‘Adrian, there’s an extraordinary player, we have to sign him whatever’. I told them our 1997 generation was already full of top talents, that we didn’t have space, but Fabio insisted that we backed this kid, so we signed him. Lautaro came in January 2014 and lived at the academy for two or three years. He was a clever kid, focused and humble. He always knew he wanted to be a professional. He did everything possible to achieve it and never lost sight of his big objective. He rejected an offer when he was with us from Real Madrid. We told him the most important thing at that stage was to continue with Racing, to make his debut and to spend some time in the Argentine league. Luckily he listened to us and made his debut in October 2015 when he was just 18, coming on for none other than Diego Milito. Now, in Italy, he’s showing everything we believed he would. He surprised us every day, despite being so young, because he was a complete forward and a pure goalscorer

2020 05 27 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi admits he could never have imagined the global repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic] I don’t think anyone could have seen something like this coming. Some people warned that worldwide pandemics could happen from time to time, but I really never could have imagined it would unfold like it did, or the enormous impact it’s having on virtually the entire world. Living or working with so much uncertainty is never easy, especially when faced with a situation as unheard-of as this one. We all wonder when we’ll get back to work, when we’ll start training and competing again. For any soccer player, it’s crucial to stay focused when you hit the field

[Regarding the return of Spanish football without fans] There is talk of finishing out the Spanish league’s season without spectators, which brings a whole set of challenges. The group preparation is the same as for any other game, but individually each person needs to prepare and visualise playing without fans, because it’s very strange. I had to do it for a home game, and it was downright spooky. But it’s normal that the league would resume this way after everything we’ve been going through. With all that’s happening in the world, it’s perfectly understandable. When we start playing again, it will be like starting from scratch. We’ll have some time to get ready before the league starts up, and we’ll also get back key players on our team who were injured. Technically it will still be the same season, but I think every team and player will feel it’s different. Even though I don’t play two games per week anymore, I try to train every day, and I do the drills they send us. It’s obviously a far cry from training with the team, and the worst part is not having the constant games, but it’s the new normal we have to live with. That’s why we’ll need some time to prepare before competing again.

Pushing back the Copa America was a huge disappointment, but of course it was to be expected and was the reasonable thing to do. The Copa was going to be a big occasion for me this year, and I was extremely excited to compete in it again. It hit me hard when I learned it would be postponed, but I completely understood. We can’t dwell on what we’re leaving behind this year. It’s better to look to the future. To getting back to the daily training routine, to seeing team-mates, to playing the first games. I’m sure it will be strange at first, but I’m very eager to start competing again!

2020 05 27b Retrieve

[Barcelona star Lionel Messi has admitted he could never have imagined the global repercussions of the pandemic as his side aims to get their title chase back underway] I don’t think anyone could have seen something like this coming. Some people warned that worldwide pandemics could happen from time to time, but I really never could have imagined it would unfold like it did, or the enormous impact it’s having on virtually the entire world

2020 05 28 Retrieve

[Barcelona star Lionel Messi is preparing for life in La Liga following the coronavirus pandemic and admits it will be strange to play again] I don’t think anyone could have seen something like this coming. Some people warned that worldwide pandemics could happen from time to time, but I really never could have imagined it would unfold like it did, or the enormous impact it’s having on virtually the entire world. Living or working with so much uncertainty is never easy, especially when faced with a situation as unheard-of as this one. We all wonder when we’ll get back to work, when we’ll start training and competing again. For any soccer player, it’s crucial to stay focused when you hit the field. When we start playing again, it will be like starting from scratch. We’ll have some time to get ready before the league starts up, and we’ll also get back key players on our team who were injured. Technically it will still be the same season, but I think every team and player will feel it’s different.

2020 05 29 Retrieve

[Where Messi favourite Lautaro would fit in at Barcelona] He is spectacular, he has incredible talent, you could see he was going to be a great player and now he has exploded and is showing it. He is very strong, he is brilliant in one-on-one situations, he scores goals, he takes on anyone in the area. He holds the ball up, he pivots, he goes looking for the ball. He has so much talent, he is a complete player

2020 05 29b Retrieve

[Who came first in football: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?] We have shared the stage 15 years. I don’t know if that’s happened before - the same two guys on the same stage all the time

2020 05 31 Retrieve

[Barcelona star Messi thinks coronavirus pandemic will change the game forever] Most of us are left with doubts about what the world is going to be like after everything that has happened. Beyond the confinement and the situation that took us by surprise, many people had a really hard time because this situation affected them in some way, as it happened with all those who lost their family and friends and could not even see them. I think there were a lot of negative things in this crisis, but there can be nothing worse than losing the people you love the most, that creates enormous frustration for me and seems to me the most unfair thing of all. Soccer, like life in general, I think will never be the same

The ambitions are the same, win all we can and I think that we’re in good shape to do that, I see the team doing well and it’s hopeful

2020 06 05 Retrieve

[Barcelona confirm Messi injury but calm any long-term fitness fears] Quique Setien and his team were back out on the training ground this Friday after taking the previous day off. Barca captain Leo Messi has a minor right quadriceps injury and trained in isolation, doing specific exercises to avoid unnecessary risks with just eight days remaining before Barca finally get back to playing matches. He should be able to rejoin his team-mates in a few days’ time. All of the available players were at the Ciutat Esportiva, where they were joined by Jorge Cuenca and Kike Saverio as well as the other B team players who have been working out with the first team over the last few days: Inaki Pena, R. Araujo, Chumi, Monchu, Riqui Puig, Collado and Ansu Fati. The latter, like Messi, worked out individually this morning. For tomorrow’s Saturday session the players will train again, but unusually, this session is going to be on the pitch in the Camp Nou as Setien works to get his players ready for the return to football, but with games being played behind closed doors

2020 06 11 Retrieve

[Messi vs Setien] I never doubted the squad we have and I have no doubt that we can win all that remains, but not by playing in the way we were playing. Now, everyone has their opinion and they are all very respectable. Mine is based on the fact that I was lucky to play in the Champions League every year and I know that it is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing

2020 06 12 Retrieve

[Messi sees football as a ‘gift’ as Barcelona star prepares to return after coronavirus-enforced break] Being away from the game has made me think. I feel like any other player. I just want to play. And to play our game is a gift. To be supported by so many, even more so. To be able to inspire others, and be inspired. And maybe the greatest gift of all: to create joy for others. So, now the game has returned, I’m ready for its gift again

2020 06 14 Retrieve

[Messi-chasing pitch invader faces stiff punishment after breaking coronavirus protocol] It was a great experience, I jumped over a two-metre fence. My dream is to have a photo with Messi, I went for him, I took some photos and the police forced me to delete them

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Messi, though, was not as familiar with Arthur Melo’s talents. He was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to discover that the new arrival’s style of play bore a striking resemblance to that of a former team-mate] I didn’t know that much about Arthur but he seems similar to Xavi. He’s very safe and trustworthy. He has La Masia style: playing short passes, without losing the ball. He grasped it very quickly, the dynamic of the team

2020 07 16 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi gave an outspoken interview after Barcelona’s reign as La Liga champions came to an embarrassing end as 10-man Osasuna pulled off a shock 2-1 win at the Camp Nou wih a stoppage-time goal on Thursday] We have lost a lot of points which we shouldn’t have done. We have been very inconsistent. We need to be self-critical, starting with the players, but also across the entire club. We are Barcelona, and we are obliged to win every game