Five players from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy saw their dreams come true when they were given the opportunity to interview Lionel Messi.
Messi, himself a graduate from the academy that also produced Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique, spoke about the difficulties of leaving Argentina for Spain and that he never expected to win five Ballon d’Or trophies.
The 28-year-old is an idol to kids across the world and it’s great to see him sharing his knowledge with today’s youth.
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The Argentine was posing with his fifth Ballon d’Or award, which he won last month, and revealed that he keeps it in the same room as his other four trophies.
Messi was 13 when he left Argentinean club Newell’s Old Boys for La Masia and admitted that he struggled to deal with his new surroundings and the sudden absence of his family.
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He said: “The truth is, yes, it was a big change. I left a lot things behind.
“I didn’t have the chance like other kids at La Masia to see my family much. I saw them once or twice a year and the truth is that it was difficult.”
La Masia is like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory to young footballers and being surrounded by several boys in the same boat helped Messi adapt.
He continued: “I had great memories of all those afternoons with the lads who were in the same situation, far from their families and with the dream of reaching the First Division.”
Yet Messi never expected his time at the academy would lead to five Ballon d’Or trophies and worldwide recognition as the greatest footballer in history.
“When I was young I had the dream of reaching the first team, becoming a professional but I never imagined all that has happened since then.”
It’s a far cry from the cocksure sentiment recently voiced by Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who said he knew he was going to be a star when he was 11-years-old.
Messi issued a warning to all those thinking that his individual and team success will cause him to become disinterested in the sport.
“Well, I would like to keep winning more. I always say that when the season starts we have a group objective that is to win everything that we are in because of where we are.
“In this club you always aspire to everything and my mentality is to finish my career with lots of trophies, the more the better.”
Messi added that La Masia helped him become the player he is today.
“Without doubt. The philosophy at this club and the players that Barca has made my development what it was.”