Lionel Messi won an unprecedented 7th Ballon d’Or title this week at a glitzy ceremony in in Paris.
The best of the best descended on the French capital to see the Argentine maestro crowned the finest footballer in the world yet again, as he extended his golden ball lead over eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, the award did not come without controversy, with many believing that Messi was far from deserving of the title, especially in the face of some of Robert Lewandowski‘s ridiculous goalscoring achievements.
Now, the PSG superstar has given a fascinating interview to France Football, the magazine that bestowed the award upon him, covering a wide range of topics.
It’s not often that Messi gives in-depth interviews, and so it is no surprise that fans are lapping up what he has had to say.
Lionel Messi’s interview with France Football
On rejecting Neymar’s offer of the no. 10 shirt at PSG:
“The ’10’ was for him. I came to a new team to help. It was an extraordinary gesture on his part, but I expected it because I know Neymar.
“We spent time together at Barcelona and we are friends. It seemed fairer to me that he kept the number ’10’. That’s why I took another one that I liked .”
Why he lay down behind the wall in the 2-0 win over Man City:
“At that moment it needed to be done. We were winning. Nobody else was there to do it and because I was, I just did it. To be honest there was nothing to it. We all need to contribute something to get results.”
What he thinks about being considered the best footballer in history:
“I never said I’m the best in history nor do I try to push that perception myself. For me, being considered by others as one of the best in history is more than enough.
“It’s something I would never have imagined. It’s something that doesn’t interest me, it doesn’t change anything whether I’m considered the best or not. And I never wanted to be.”
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On being a role model for others:
“I don’t know if I am a role model for others. I never really liked being a role model or giving advice. I fought for my own dreams.
“At the beginning it was to be a professional player, then I fought to improve myself and reach new objectives every year. In those moments there is a bit of luck. I believe that God chose everything that has been given to me.”
On surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal tally:
“I always wanted to surpass myself and not look at what others were doing. With Cristiano we kept our battle going within the same league for years.
“It has been wonderful and has helped us both to grow in our careers. But without looking at each other. I just wanted to surpass myself, to be the best I could be, and not better than any other.”
Thoughts on comparison with Maradona:
“I have never compared myself with Maradona. Honestly, I have never compared myself with Diego, absolutely never.
I never paid attention to those comparisons, although some criticisms did bother me in the past. I had difficult times in the national team, but not for those reasons.
“I often get some criticism that makes me angry, but they stay in the changing room. They should stay there, in private.
“It’s the intimacy that makes the group stronger, plus the fact that we can get pissed off and tell each other to our faces the things that can be improved. This can happen to me and to other players.”