Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has returned to praise the enormous quality of Lionel Messi. Guardiola worked with the Argentine star during his four years as Camp Nou boss and was asked about him in a wide-ranging interview with Catalunya Radio.
"We'd like to be inside Messi's brain," the Catalan coach said. "He is a genius, one of the greatest athletes of all time, not just footballers."
He continued: "The greatest advantage of having Leo on your team is that the other 10 players know they have Leo on their team and that sooner of later he will do ‘it’. I was his coach and we were planning and I though that: we will get the ball to Messi and that’s that, we will score. Only the best of all time can do that.
"It’s brutal how he goes out there every three days and performs. Every three days. Brutal. No human except him can bare that pressure in every game and do it.
"I am a basketball fan and I used to get up at 4am even if I had training to watch Michael Jordan because I felt I couldn’t miss seeing everything he did before he was done. Now it’s the same. We can’t miss [Messi’s] games because he’s just so good. We are so fortunate to watch him. And every year you think he’s getting better."
Finally, Guardiola remembered something once said to him: "Tito [Vilanova] had a great phrase once, he said [Messi] is like a student that comes to class and the teacher explains the lesson, but he gets bored because he knows everything already.
"Sometimes when I was telling him ‘you go there’ I though he must have been saying to himself: ‘why is he telling me this when I already know it?’ But he doesn’t make you feel like he is the star."