Lionel Messi says he would still have chosen to be a footballer even if he was not getting paid for it.
In an interview with Maxim magazine, the Barcelona star also spoke of Cristiano Ronaldo and other issues surrounding his life both on and off the pitch.
“Even when I was not getting paid for playing I’d still have chosen this profession before any other. It’s no coincidence that the Barca players who lead low-profile lives have achieved success.
“We are footballers not movie stars. We don’t want to lead the life of a movie star. When we are not playing or training we are at home with our families,” he insisted.
The Argentine also noted that it was in India where he had received the warmest welcome from supporters.
“It was incredible. Football there is not even the number one sport and I arrived there at night, but there were thousands of fans there wearing t-shirts with my name on them,” said Messi, who revealed the most amazing experience of his life occurred on a plane.
“It was on a flight from Argentina to Venezuela. I noticed that I was the first one on board the aircraft and the crew persuaded me to go into the cockpit, where I spent most of the journey steering the plane.”
On a more serious note, Messi was asked to sum up his rivalry with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for the title of the world’s greatest player.
“There is absolutely no rivalry with Cristiano. He is a good person who can change the course of any game.
“He goes about his business and I just concentrate on achieving success with Barcelona.”
With respect to the arrival of Tata Martino on the Barca bench, Messi stressed that “we still want to win trophies in Spain and Europe this season. It was sad at the way in which Tito Vilanova had to leave but we are now all behind the new Coach.”
Finally, the 26-year-old spoke about the sometimes harsh marking he is subjected to on the field and revealed he never looks back at what he has accomplished.
“You can’t waste time fearing you are going to be the object of some hard tackles. I just play my own game and let the referees do their job.
“As for my career, I never look back at what I’ve done. I’ll do that when I’ve retired. Until then it is important to be focused, because no matter what you’ve done in the past each new season is a challenge,” he declared.