After more than a decade of being tried and tested at Barcelona against the very best, Lionel Messi has firmly staked his claim as one of the greatest to ever step foot on a football pitch.
Managers have come and gone, but Messi has remained at the heart of Barca’s success.
Whether it be his darting runs that leave defenders in the dust, his pinpoint passing, or his wand of a left foot, the Argentine has all the traits a top forward should possess.
Ernesto Valverde stepped in as Barcelona boss in 2017. His side recorded an impressive, near-undefeated title-winning season in 2017/18, and currently sit atop La Liga by three points.
Fifteen goals and ten assists in 15 appearances is a tally you’d only expect from a player such as Messi. Those figures have helped contribute massively to the Catalan club’s title challenge this season.
However, despite the multi-faceted nature of Messi’s game, many still argue as to what the 31-year-old’s greatest asset actually is.
Valverde is the latest figure to chime in on the matter.
According to Goal, in an interview with BarcaTV, the Spaniard revealed that he thinks his player’s best attribute is, in fact, his ‘competitive spirit.’
He said: “What I’d most highlight about Leo Messi is his huge sense of responsibility for the team. It shows in every game in every competition.
“What he does is not only difficult, but he does it again and again. That takes enormous mental strength.
“I have never known anyone with such an amazing competitive spirit.”
Certainly high praise from the gaffer.
Valverde also commented on what he wants to see from 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele in the future.
The Frenchman signed for the club in summer 2017 and appeared to be the successor for the then recently-departed Neymar.
Dembele has endured a rather hit-or-miss spell at the club thus far, but Valverde remains optimistic from his recent showings.
“We have always said what a talented player he is,” he continued.
“We wanted to see that talent on the pitch. And this year we’re getting to see a lot more of what he has to offer.
“But I am still hoping that there’s even more.”
Who knows, maybe we’ll see Dembele become the final component in an MSN-esque front three in the near future.
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