Messi spends the first minutes of each match ignoring the ball and simply carrying out a walk around the opposition defence for reconnaissance; he wants to fix each player’s position in his head.
“Then, as the game advances, he gets in little by little,” Valverde said. “But he knows perfectly where the rivals’ weaknesses are.”
Valverde has the luxury of coaching a player who, let’s face it, doesn’t actually need a lot of coaching.
Messi combines his individual talents with an expert eye for the game.
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And the result is what we’ve been treated to over the last 15 years.
Another of Messi’s former managers, Pep Guardiola, has explained just what makes the Argentinian a genius.
Guardiola and Messi won three Champions League trophies together at Barcelona, creating one of the greatest teams in football history.
And during the Amazon Prime documentary This Is Football, Guardiola delivers a detailed view of how Messi operates on the pitch.
“He’s always like this,” the Manchester City boss says, shaking his head from left to right.
“He's not out of the game. He's involved. Moving his head. Right, left, left, right.
"He smells who is the weak point of the back four.
"After five, ten minutes, he has the map. He knows if I move here, here, I will have more space to attack.
We are contemporary of that guy. So enjoy it. He is so good.
The six-part Amazon documentary, which explores football’s impact around the world, is well worth a watch.
Guardiola helped Messi become the player he is today and the 32-year-old is open to the idea of working with his former coach again.
“Although it is difficult, I would like to work with Guardiola again," Messi admitted in an interview with Marca last year.
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