You’ve probably already noticed that Lionel Messi doesn’t exactly get involved during the first minutes of a match, but there is a method behind his genius, according to Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde.
In an excellent article on how Barcelona is preparing for the future of football, the 55-year-old, who replaced Luis Enrique as manager in 2017, describes the number of his players who “interpret the game”.
He told the Financial Times that “you can’t think, you have to play” on the pitch, but he admits that Lionel Messi is an exception to this methodology.
Messi often reserves the “first minutes” of each match for interpretation.
Rather than getting involved in the early stages, he ignores the ball and examines the opposing defenders bypassing them.
Messi observes each step with meticulous detail, correcting each movement from the position of the opposition in his head while spotting the weaknesses in their game.
“As the game progresses, it gradually enters. But he knows perfectly well where the weaknesses of the rivals are. Said Valverde.
In the report, club president Josep Bartomeu explained how the players had dismissed Barça in the past due to the incredible competition on the team.
With players like Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta in their ranks in past years, it was difficult to break into the starting XI:
“Not all the players I wanted to recruit came to Barcelona. Explains Bartomeu.
“I have examples that I cannot say – very important players who now play in other clubs. We told them to come, they were excited but at the last moment, they said: “I cannot sign because I will be on the bench”.
“We don’t want it. Sometimes they are not strong enough to say, “Where do you want me to play? Xavi plays, why do you want me? You don’t want me to play for Lionel Messi? I can not, ” “
One thing is certain, Barcelona can never replace Lionel Messi in our lifetime.