In an interview for Fiebre Maldini, the former Barça captain remembered being taken aback by the talent the teenage Messi showed playing against the senior players.
A few days ago, Leo Messi prolonged his professional relationship with Barcelona until 2021. The Argentine’s signature on his new contract sparked a series of reports looking back on a career which has spanned almost two decades with the azulgranas.
Xavi remembers Leo Messi’s first training session
One of Messi’s moments was regaled to AS collaborator Julio Maldonado, ‘Maldini’ in an interview with Xavi Hernández. The former Barcelona captain recalled being taken aback by the teenage Messi in his first ever training session with the first team squad.
“They’d already told me about this kid, I’d been warned that there was this young Argentinean kid coming through who was very good. They’d even mentioned his name but I’d forgotten. But then, when I saw him in training aged just 16 I could see exactly what they were on about. There was a training drill we used to do in which players are one-on-one against [Lillian] Thuram, and [Carles] Puyol… I saw Messi take on those two and couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought: ‘Blimey, here this kid who’s only 16 years old, dodging past professional defenders, internationals. Even then you could tell that he was different. It’s obvious that he has an innate talent when he is one-against-one, he’0s fast, he scores goals, he’s passes, shoots… He’s amazing”, Xavi recalled.