“Genius”, “Not from this planet” … Messi in the eyes of other stars

 “Best player in history”, “A genius”, and “Not from this planet”: this is how soccer stars see Argentina’s seven-time best player in the world, Lionel Messi, who leads his country on Sunday in Qatar 2022 World Cup Final against France, dreaming of winning the first world title.

Cristiano Ronaldo –

In an interview with Piers Morgan on November 17, Ronaldo, who was Messi’s rival when the first defended Real Madrid’s colors and the second Barcelona’s colors, said:

“Amazing player, he is magic… Imagine, 16 years we share. So, I have [a] great relationship with him. He’s a guy that I really respect the way he always speaks about me. Even his wife and my girlfriend, they always respect [each other] and they’re from Argentina. What am I going to say about Messi? A great guy who does great things for football.”

Josep Guardiola –

In an interview conducted on April 12 with the South American channel “Telemundo Deportes”, Messi’s former coach in Barcelona (2008-2012) said:

“What does Leo mean in my career? Everything. Everything, everything. With Messi, I felt like Phil Jackson did when he had Michael Jordan. There are very few people who control their sport so easily. Without him, we would still have won. But, would we have won as much? No way. For the World Cup, I hope he will be physically fit, trains well, and come in strong.”

In 2012, Guardiola said, “I’m sorry for those who are trying to dethrone him. We are in front of the best player of all time. He can do everything, every day.”

The late Diego Maradona –

Argentina’s legend and former coach of the national team: (2008-2010) said:

In 2010: “Sometimes Messi plays for himself. He forgets his teammates. The first turns to Deportivo Messi (referring to the names of some sports clubs).”

“At the moment, he’s the best player in the world, he plays on another level.

2009: “It’s easier to talk to Obama than to talk to Messi.”

2010: “Now I know the player who will replace me in football and his name is Lionel Messi. He has something different from other players. He is a leader and an example to follow.”

Gerard Pique –

In an interview on March 25th with The Players’ Tribune, Messi’s former teammate in Barcelona (2008-2021 said:

“People often ask me what it has been like playing with Messi for so many years. If I had to explain it in one sentence: he is an alien. He is not from this planet. He’s the only player that I can recall seeing play for the first time, way back when we were 13 years old, and saying to myself: ‘Oh, this kid comes from somewhere else. This is not human. He’s an assassin. He’s the greatest I’ve ever seen. He is not interested in the spectacle. He rarely even does stepovers. He’s cut from a different cloth. His greatness is in his obsession with winning the ball. What may be invisible on a TV screen and can be seen on the field is his face when he runs to take the ball from a defender. When I think of Messi’s charm, it’s not something that can be found on YouTube. It’s a sensitive expression in his eyes. To explain his greatness, I need 5,000 words.”

Football Stars –

Italian star Mario Balotelli in 2019: There is only one person who is slightly better than me: his name is Lionel Messi.

Cameroonian star Samuel Eto’o, Messi’s former teammate at Barcelona (2004-2009) in 2010: “There is only one god of football, and that’s Messi”.

Brazilian star Neymar, Messi’s current colleague at Paris Saint-Germain and formerly at Barcelona, in September 2022: “Messi is an amazing player, a genius. He is the same off the field. It is an honor for me to play alongside him”.

Florentino Pérez, President of Real Madrid, 2010: “Messi is the second-best player in the world after Cristiano Ronaldo. It wouldn’t be a good thing if they were on the same team”.

Former Brazilian star Ronaldo in 2012: “Messi is amazing. He is an excellent player, but he’ll only be a legend when he shows his true colors with Argentina and wins the World Cup”.

Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2010: “Messi is like a PlayStation player. How does he do what he does? I don’t know. But he is unique and wonderful”.

Former Spanish star Xavi Hernandez, who played alongside Messi in Barcelona from 2004 to 2015, in 2010: “He is the number one. He is the type of player who appears only once every thirty years”.

Former Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012: “Messi is at the same level as Diego Maradona and Pele in the pantheon of the greatest of all time”.

Brazil legend Pele in 2010: “Messi will become a legend when he scores a thousand goals”.

Former Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque in 2017: “Messi is amazing. I don’t think even Maradona dribbled like that, at that speed”.

Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, on July 1, 2021: “Messi and I are both left-handed, but with a slightly different technique unfortunately”.

– Non-Football Celebrities –

The late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 2010: “He looks like lightning and with his feet or with his head, he hits the ball with incredible speed.”

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal in 2011: “Messi is the best player I have ever seen”

Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol in 2009: “He’s a great player. He’s Kobe Bryant of football.”

The late American basketball legend Kobe Bryant in 2016: “I was talking to (former Brazilian football star) Ronaldinho who was a close friend, and he said: Kobe, listen, I’m going to introduce you to the guy who will be the best player of all time. I said: But you are the best! He told me: No, no this kid here will be the best. That kid was Lionel Messi, who was just 17 years old.

Former US President Barack Obama in 2016: “My two daughters know Pope Francis, and now they want to meet Messi. But I couldn’t manage that.”

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