Fabricio Coloccini: 'Messi is so quick, there is nothing you can do really'

 

Apparently the televised perception of Lionel Messi is not correct; worryingly, the Barcelona forward is quicker in real life.

We are told too often these days about what is revelatory, but to be informed that the fleet-footed Argentinian, who scored five times against the bewildered Germans of Leverkusen in midweek and whose current tally in La Liga and for his country is now a mind-boggling 250 goals from 378 games is slowed down to television viewers is a genuine mouth-opener.

Fabricio Coloccini, the Newcastle captain, has played with Messi for Argentina and against him when the defender was with Deportivo la Coruna in Spain. He offers this appraisal: "On the TV he looks very quick but in life he is quicker than he is on the television. It is unbelievable.

"Sometimes you watch it on television and you say, 'Yes, that was good but the defender can do more'. But really when you are live, and it is on the pitch, he is so, so quick. There really is nothing you can do.

He adds: "When I was in training with Argentina, you make sure you're on his team. You want to play with him, not against him.

"It is more difficult because he is small. He is small and strong. Sometimes, when you're small and have strong legs it is difficult to knock him off the ball.

"Can I compare between him and Maradona? It is so, so difficult. Maradona was the best player in the world for a long time. Messi is 24 years old. He is writing his history now. He is doing really, really well. I think if he keeps going in this way, he will be better than Di Stefano, Maradona, Cruyff, a lot of players.

"He is unbelievable. It is nice because he is from Argentina. It is very important. There was Maradona and now there is Messi. Sometimes it is difficult to say he has not won the World Cup. The team is 11 players and he can't win the game alone. He needs team-mates as well, but he played the last friendly game and he scored a hat-trick."

Coloccini has cemented his own place in the hearts and minds of Newcastle fans. His transfer to St James' Park four years ago feels an awfully long time ago given what has happened at that particular football club. His desire to be a success was perhaps best exemplified when his father, Oswaldo, a former professional footballer in Argentina, flew to the North-east at the start of the year and went shopping with his son.

"We went to the Metro Centre and the people said, 'Colo, you have to stay', or 'Colo, we need you', or 'Colo, we love you'," says Coloccini.

"My father doesn't speak really good English but he understood that. He turned to me and said, 'Colo, you have to stay, the people love you, the city is nice, the club want you'. Sometimes, it is not about money, they [the fans] are not paid to love you.

"He watches every game I play. If it is not on television he finds it on the computer. He has heard the fans sing my name at games, all the feeling that they show me. For him, his son is happy. He played football for 16 years in the first division. He was a centre-back and he taught me a lot. He knows how important it is to be happy.

"Me and my family are very happy here. It was very important to get it sorted. The club has gone up. We are doing things well now. Of course the club has got better since I first came here. We had a lot of problems when I first came here with managers, too many changes and now I think it is more stable.

"A lot of players have spent years here and that is important for the team to grow, for the spirit and for the fans. If you have five or six players who stay here and they know the team, you have a nucleus and you have something to build on."

Arsenal v Newcastle Utd is on Sky Sports 1 tomorrow, kick-off 8pm

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering