After starting the season all-guns-blazing with four goals and two assists in the first three La Liga games, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi sat down for an interview with CatRadio. He discussed many issues such as the evolution of his playstyle and his numerous roles on the team, while also taking the time to speak about some of his current teammates.
Some of the excerpts from that interview are below.
ON WATCHING HIS OWN GAMES: No, not the older ones, not the new ones. I don't like watching myself and remembering things from the past. I prefer to look ahead.
I think that it [the evolution of his game] is a normal process. I made my debut at 17. I played in a different position, I played a different way and with the passing of the years football changed and my way of playing changed, how I move on the pitch, my teammates, and all this made me evolve as a player.
ON PLAYING ON THE WING: I like it even more like this [in a 4-3-3] because, like I said before, teams accumulate a lot of defenders in the middle so it's easier to receive the ball on the wing and then trying to go in. It's more difficult to receive it in the middle, less time and space. On the wing I get the help of the RB too, Sergi or Nelson who overlap and make the defender more confused about who to follow and we can take advantage of those seconds of indecision.
ON WHAT SUAREZ HAS BROUGHT TO BARCA: He gives a lot to me and the team. Knowing that he's always moving and creating passing lanes, that he's bothering the defensive line constantly, that he comes lower to receive the ball. He's always an option or makes a run so that another teammate can have more space. When we don't have the ball he's the first one to press and that makes the others behind him press too to accompany him. He gives us a lot and for me personally having him as a 9 has allowed me to return to being a "false" winger, which I like.
ON THE JORDI ALBA CONNECTION: I don't know how it started, but having Jordi there has been magical for me. Knowing that without even looking I can play the ball and he'll be there because he knows me perfectly and knows when I'm going to play the pass even if I don't look at him. And you add to that his control and his decision making which aren't simple things either. I keep telling him that he should finish himself, but he prefers to give an assist. But it's true that I have a special relationship with him due to his characteristics and his physical and mental speed.
ON RONALDO'S MOVE TO JUVENTUS: I was surprised, I didn't imagine him leaving Madrid or that he would go to Juve because there was talk of many clubs [interested]. The truth is I was very surprised but Juve are also a very good team.
Real Madrid are one of the best teams in the world and they have a great squad but it's obvious the departure of Ronaldo makes them less strong while Juve have become a clear favourite for the Champions League.
They already had a good team and now they also have Cristiano Ronaldo.
ON HIS NEXT TARGET: It's time to win the Champions League. We've been knocked out in the quarterfinals three seasons in a row and maybe the last one was the worst of all because of the result and how the match was played. I think we have to aim for that, as a club, as a team and as a collective. We have a spectacular squad and we can do it.