The greatest era in Barcelona’s history was the combination of Pep Guardiola’s scintillating football with a relentless Lionel Messi, surrounded by a number of brilliant talents in their own right. Yet the Argentine has one regret over those four years.
The pair elevated each other to a new level, winning two Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys and a sextuple. On an individual level, Messi began his run to seven Ballon D’Ors and secured a calendar year scoring 91 goals, the highest ever.
Speaking to Universo Valdano, Messi explained that it was a unique experience.
“It was an extraordinary stage, because everything came off. On the one hand, Guardiola came, who taught me and made me grow. On the other, it was a unique generation. It was impressive to go to play in any field, since we were going to win no matter who the opposition was, and the way we were going to do it, having 80 percent of possession.”
“If I regret anything, it’s not having enjoyed the day-to-day more, because you’re in a bubble. To enjoy how he prepared the matches, how we were going to play the rival. We made it so easy and it was so natural, that we didn’t realize what we were doing. With the passage of time and throughout my career you realize that it was something unique.”
Equally, it is hard to appreciate success at the time and Messi was still in his early twenties at the time. Sport carried his comments as he continued on Guardiola.
“He did a lot of damage to football, because it seemed so easy that everyone wanted to play the same. Then I met many ‘Guardiolas’ out there and it helped me to realise what we did”.
“Guardiola has something special to watch the games, prepare them and to communicate”
Although they came close under Luis Enrique, neither Messi nor Barcelona have managed to repeat that success since. Manchester City were reportedly not an option for Messi when he left Barcelona last summer, but Guardiola might have persuaded him to the Etihad had they been.