Recently Guillem Balague, the author for the first authorized biography of Lionel Messi published an exclusive interview with Yahoo sports. The following are the three most burning questions from Balague’s session with the 4-time (update: 5-time) Ballon d’Or winner.
GB: The world of football sometimes seems like something from another planet. Artificial debates are instigated, lies are told as if they were the truth, and great importance is given to things that matter very little. Do you sometimes feel like someone from another world, a boy in a world full of madmen?
LM: Yes, unfortunately we live in a society that lives at 1000 kms an hour, and in a sport as popular as football that grows and grows and becomes the escape valve for the problems of many people
Messi isn’t the first one to hit out at the media circus that surrounds professional footballers. Yaya Toure, Luis Suarez, and others have spoken about their experience being harangued by journalists and media determined to fuel a story.
His thoughts reflect his recent ad campaign that encourages players not to try and “play like Messi” but to play their own way, and carve their own niche. You get the sense that Messi isn’t as interested in the fame that comes along with being the best player in the world as simply just being the best.
GB: Has it helped you having Cristiano Ronaldo around in the same era as yourself?
LM: These are things that people say. I don’t compete with Cristiano and I suppose he would not compete with me. What I want is the very best for my teams and that’s what I am working for.
Messi’s first response, “These are things that people say.” does more than enough to show his impatience with the ever-present Messi v. Ronaldo debate. In fact this question is an example of the media circus that Messi writes off earlier in the interview.
While some athletes seem to be galvanized into greatness by their rivalry (Ali and Frazier come to mind) Messi does not subscribe to this thinking about Ronaldo. It is an easy enough conclusion, considering it’s not as if Messi began playing soccer to compete solely with Ronaldo, or anyone for that matter.
GB: Can you ever see yourself playing in another league?
LM: I don’t want to look too far ahead. I live for the moment and at this moment I am with Barcelona in the Spanish League where I have made my living and where I live very well.
Some pundits have used Messi’s answer to suggest he’s yielding offers from various top Premier League teams and those pundits need to get a grip. Messi is simply saying that he’s playing for Barcelona in the Spanish League and he’s got no reason to leave. He even states how well of a living he’s made for himself, as if it wasn’t obvious.
Balague’s book ‘Messi’ is available for purchase directly from his website as well as Amazon. Messi is currently continuing his recovery process which may be more of a benefit to Barcelona than previously imagined.