Why Lionel Messi did NOT take free-kicks early in his Barcelona career, it showed his true class
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Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi showed his true class at the Camp Nou after he made the mature decision to learn and develop his free-kick technique.
Messi burst onto the scene at the La Liga club under former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard and went on to create a legendary legacy at the Camp Nou.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner later became known as Barcelona’s designated free-kick taker and produced exquisite moments when he was in shooting range.
According to Sportskeeda, Juan Carlos Unzue was at Barcelona as a coach when Messi broke into the first team and opened up about the PSG forward’s humility.
Unzue claimed that Messi was promoted to the senior team when Barcelona had “excellent free-kick takers” in the likes of Rafael Marquez, Deco and Ronaldinho.
The former Barcelona player, who worked as Luis Enrique’s assistant at the Camp Nou, admitted that Messi would watch Marquez, Deco and Ronaldinho practice.
“When Messi came into the first team, there were players like Ronaldinho, Deco and Rafa Marquez, who were excellent free-kick takers and stayed after training to practice,” he said.
“But Messi would sit on a ball, just watching them practice.”
Unzue revealed that he asked the young Messi why he didn’t practice free-kicks after seeing him score them during his time at Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy.
He revealed that former Barcelona captain Messi told him it was “not my moment,” with Unzue insisting that the Argentina star already “respected the hierarchies.”
“So, I asked Messi, ‘Why don’t you practice? I’ve seen you score free-kick goals at La Masia,’” Unzue added.
“Messi replied, ‘This is not my moment, this is Ronaldinho’s, Deco’s and Marquez’s moment’ [...] At 16, Messi respected the hierarchies.”
Messi has spoken fondly of Brazil legend Ronaldinho in the past and saw him as a mentor when he arrived in the Barcelona dressing room as a teenager.
“Ronaldinho helped me a lot,” he said. “I came into the dressing room at 16-17 years of age, seeing all those footballing giants made it tough.
“But he mentored me and made me feel comfortable, and I loosened up. Afterwards on the pitch, I always looked for him but we didn’t have many years to enjoy together.
“Besides, we didn’t play as much at that time. I would have liked to play more with Ronaldinho.”
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Topics: Lionel Messi, Barcelona, La Liga, Spain, Football