Lionel Messi really is one of a kind.
Heralded by many as the greatest footballer of all time, the legendary Argentine raised the beautiful game to heights never seen before during his era-defining spell at Barcelona spanning 2000 to 2020.
During that time, Messi racked up an astonishing 672 goals across 778 games along with six of his seven Ballon d’Or titles in what must be the finest player-club collaboration in the sport’s history.
The magic of Messi at Barcelona
However, Messi’s breath-taking achievements in the red and blue stripes of Barca were not only reserved for matches because his otherworldly talent was also apparent in the way he approached training.
Just in the way that Messi would make his opponents look silly in front of 99,000 fans at Camp Nou, he would do exactly the same thing to his own teammates behind closed doors.
And of all the anecdotes about Messi’s greatness in those behind-the-scenes moments, few come close to the story that Thierry Henry once told Rio Ferdinand from his personal experience as a Barcelona player.
Henry’s awesome story about Messi in training
Speaking to Ferdinand on his ‘Presents FIVE’ channel during the summer of the 2014 World Cup, the former Blaugrana forward led into the story while discussing the Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate.
And what Henry proceeded to say about Messi during Barcelona training was not only something that he had never seen before, but something that Ferdinand said he’d never seen from Ronaldo either.
That alone is pretty remarkable, but hearing the ins and outs of Messi’s magic in training truly makes you appreciate his greatness, so be sure to listen to Henry’s full story about his former teammate below:
The scary thing is, you can actually visualise Messi doing exactly that in your head.
And to hear the awe coming from Henry’s mouth – a legendary, world-beating player himself – all those years later just underlines how frankly moved he was by seeing such an electric athlete in action.
Ferdinand recalls Henry’s memories
According to the Irish Times, an extract in Ferdinand’s autobiography further explains: “So when the ball went back to his goalkeeper, he (Messi) ran back and demanded the ball.
“The goalkeeper rolled him the ball, and Messi then proceeded to run through the entire team and score in anger.
“Thierry said that was what he used to do in the playground at school. I did stuff like that too against little kids. But he (Messi) did it against some of the best in the world: Yaya Toure, Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets.
“And it wasn’t just that one time. He did it a couple of times. Thierry said: ‘Can Ronaldo do that?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve never seen him do that.’
“Thierry played with Zidane and Ronaldinho but they never did anything like that. He said: ‘That’s when I knew Messi was different to anyone we’ve ever seen.’”
Lionel Andres Messi, he really is something else.