What says so much about the extraordinary class of Lionel Messi is just how highly he’s talked about by other revered footballers.
While it’s easy for us mere mortals to sit in amazement and gawk at the Argentine’s ability, to be talked about with such awe by fellow professionals – some of Europe’s leading players no less – speaks to what a unique talent the Paris Saint-Germain star is.
Thierry Henry, a man who dominated the Premier League between 1999 and 2007 and won both the World Cup and the European Championships with France, seemed about as stunned at Messi’s brilliance as the rest of us.
The striker joined Barcelona in 2007 as one of the best players in the world, just as a long-haired South American was starting to move into ‘world class’ territory.
Credit: The Football Terrace
Together, they would win two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and a Champions League in the first showings of the great Pep Guardiola side at the Camp Nou.
Despite Henry’s own stocked trophy cabinet, he was as giddy as the rest of when recounting a story about how Messi was in training.
Speaking to a Sky Sports pannel a few years ago, Henry let them know how his teammate would react to not being awarded what he perceived to be fouls from his teammates.
“In training, he wants to beat everybody,” Henry said.
“A typical [story] one [would be], he gets fouled in training and they don’t call a foul. You know how to goes.
“Next thing you know, he will go and ask the ‘keeper to give him the ball.
“Then, he’s run past everyone and score.
“Then you will get the ball to try to play again. He will take it from you – wherever you are – and score again until he gets a bit more relaxed.
“You end up losing the game. I’ve never seen that before.”
To watch that would really have been something special.