Lionel Messi is really starting to settle into life at Paris Saint-Germain.
Having been forced into an earth-shattering departure from Barcelona this summer, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner hasn’t necessarily hit the ground running in the way that many expected him to.
But alas, having finally bagged his first Ligue 1 goal during the win over Nantes at the weekend, there’s a real feeling that the Argentine can kick on and really make the Parc des Princes his own.
Messi gives in-depth interview
All in all, it’s been an eventful few weeks and months for Messi, so when Spanish newspaper Marca sat down for an exclusive interview with the 34-year-old it was always going to be fascinating.
The footballing superstar recently welcomed Marca into his Parisian home for one of his first in-depth interviews as a PSG player and the intriguing conversation has now gone live.
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From a potential Barcelona return to being teammates with Sergio Ramos, Messi was posed with some of the juiciest questions that any football fan would be fascinated to pose to the man himself.
So, be sure to check out Marca’s full write-up of their interview right here, but keep scrolling for our round-up of some of the questions and answers that we found the most fascinating down below.
Which teams do you think are candidates for the Champions League?
“There are many teams that can fight for the Champions League, which is one of the most even and competitive in recent years because there are several teams that could win it.”
It’s interesting to hear that Messi has been impressed with Liverpool this season and it’s hard to disagree when they have shown flashes of their 2019/20 pomp under Jurgen Klopp once again.
What do you think of Cristiano Ronaldo’s performances?
“United are a very strong team with great players. Cristiano already knew the club, but that was in another stage and now he has adapted in an impressive way. From the beginning he has scored goals as always and had no problems adapting.
“In the Premier League, [Manchester United] are not as good as we all thought, but it is a very difficult and even competition in which things take a lot of turns. After December it changes a lot and anything can happen.”
It’s always gripping to hear Messi talking about his eternal rival and true to his humble nature, it’s lovely to note the 34-year-old giving his seal of approval on Ronaldo’s start to life back in England.
Don’t you miss those direct duels with Ronaldo?
“It’s been a long time since we stopped competing in the same league. We competed individually and as a team for the same goals.
“It was a very beautiful period for us and also for the fans because they enjoyed it very much. It is a beautiful memory that will remain in the history of football.”
Isn’t that just great to hear? Ronaldo and Messi have been a lot more open about the joys and benefits of their rivalry in recent years, so you really get that sense of respect between the two.
What does it feel like having Sergio Ramos in the same dressing room?
“Now nothing, but at first it was weird after so many years of being rivals, being the two captains of Barcelona and Madrid, after so many Clasicos played, so many fights we had on the pitch.
“But all that is in the past and we have always respected each other a lot, no matter how much we have been rivals in those Clasicos. Having him as a teammate today is spectacular.
“Little by little he is getting back up to speed and hopefully he will play as quickly as possible because he is going to be a fundamental player in order to fight for our targets.”
To be fair, Leo, it was strange for us to see both yourself and Ramos in PSG gear when the deals went through this summer. As you’d imagine, though, both are model professionals.
What can Xavi give Barcelona?
“He can contribute a lot. He is a coach who knows a lot, knows the place perfectly and has lived in Barcelona since he was a child. He has brought back hope to Barcelona because he is a highly respected figure among the fans and the players.
“He will be a very important coach for the younger players because he is going to teach them. With him, the team will grow a lot. I have no doubt.”
It doesn’t come as a surprise to hear Messi speaking so proudly about his old friend, but there’s no denying that a thumbs up from Barcelona’s greatest ever player is never bad thing for the manager.
Has the return of Dani Alves surprised you?
The truth is that his return surprised me, especially at this moment. I think he can be a good addition, just as in the case of Xavi, he can be important for the youngsters.
“He is going to help them grow because he is a winner and transmits a lot. He will do that to the youngsters, both in games and in training. Because he is also going to contribute a lot off the pitch with his daily work, commitment and the desire that he always has to win.”
If anyone can sing Alves’ praises, then it’s Messi because the pair struck up such a remarkable connection at Camp Nou that Twitter videos of their chemistry and connection go viral each week.
On potentially returning to Barcelona one day (not necessarily as a player)
“I always said that at some point I will return to Barcelona because it is my home and because I am going to live there. And obviously if I can contribute and help the club I would love to come back.”
Messi will always be Barcelona at heart.
Always great to hear from Messi
So, there you have it, just a few highlights from a fascinating interview by Marca, which you can check out in its entirety here, with Messi giving his thoughts on some of the sport’s hottest topics.
However, as interested as we were by Messi’s thoughts on Ramos, Liverpool and Barcelona, it’s the comments about Ronaldo and the clear respect between the duo that really stood out for us.
The pair will inevitability be pitted against each other as we approach the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards, but you can rest assured that the mutual admiration transcends any plaque or prize.