‘Messi can do what he wants’

Xavi Hernandez lauds former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and considers his decision to retire from Argentina duty.

Messi recently announced his departure from international football and Xavi was asked during an interview with AS for his thoughts on the forward, with it suggested to the playmaker that as Messi gets older, he could occupy a position similar to his.

“And if he wanted, he could also play in Gerard Pique’s position. The greatness of Leo is that he can do what he wants. It’s an honour they say that, but he can play like Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, Gerard…if Messi wants to, he’ll steal the ball,” Xavi noted.

“He’s very quick and his lower body is spectacular. He’s made for football. Sharp in attack, a quick mind, uses his head well and he’s quick in his execution. He’s a prodigy. I’m proud of him. He dominates all aspects of the game. Everything.

“They used to compare him to Arjen Robben or Sergio Aguero, and now it’s Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese is an historic goal-scorer, as is Messi, who will go down in history. He has a lot of greatness. He’s second to none.

“A good captain? He goes out in front, he’s reliable and he won’t deceive you. He gets angry as everyone does. You have to keep him satisfied and happy. If that happens, then Barca are closer to success. He makes the difference in each match in a collective sport. Every year he is the best and has been very well looked after in every respect.

“You have to respect what he has decided [regarding Argentina]. The same if he says he wants to come back next week. He’s the best in the world and the best in history. You have to put yourself in his situation. Leo and his generation of Argentina players have tremendous frustration. They haven’t won anything, even though they were close to everything.

“They lost a World Cup Final in extra time and have followed that with two Copa Americas. Messi has an Olympic gold and a World Under-20s. We won the two Euro Finals we played, the World Cup, the Champions League…”

Tags Lionel Messi Xavi Hernandez