Lionel Messi 'more worried about being a good person' than being the best player in the world

 

Lionel Messi wants to be remembered as a good friend and colleague to his team mates rather than as the best player in the world, the unassuming Argentine said in an interview today.

The 25-year-old Barcelona forward has won three consecutive World Player of the Year awards, and is expected to be in the running for a fourth this year, after scoring an unprecedented 73 goals in all competitions last season.

"I prefer to win titles with the team ahead of individual awards or scoring more goals than anyone else," Messi told Spanish daily EL Pais.

"I am more worried about being a good person than being the best football player in the world. When all this is over, what are you left with?

"When I retire, I hope I am remembered for being a decent guy. I like to score goals but I also like to have friends among the people I have played with."

Messi is expecting the birth of his first child, a boy to be named Thiago, in the next month, but does not seem to have been distracted on the pitch.

He has netted 10 goals in all competitions so far, under Pep Guardiola's former assistant Tito Vilanova.

The relatively unknown Vilanova appears to have settled in to his new role quickly and the side top La Liga after a perfect six wins from six.

Vilanova has been helped by a prior knowledge of many of the players, including Messi, from his time spent working in the famed Barca youth academy 'La Masia'.

"I was pleased with the news that Tito was the replacement for Pep," Messi added. "I have known him since I was a lad.

"Tito was the first person who had faith in me, because at the time I was a substitute or didn't play, and he was the one who made me starter in that category (Under-16s).

"I know him well, he's open. He tells you things to your face without any type of problem, I like this."

Barcelona resume their great rivalry with champions Real Madrid on Sunday, when Jose Mourinho's team visit the Nou Camp in La Liga having already overcome the Catalans in the Spanish Super Cup back in August.

"It's the best feeling to beat Madrid because of the importance attached to it," Messi said of the 'Clasico' as he went on to detail the strengths of their eternal rivals.

"Madrid kill you on the counter-attack," he said. "They have extremely fast forwards, and the link-up between the defence and the attack lasts only five seconds and it is a goal. They don't need to play well to score three against you.

"I am lucky enough to know well (fellow Argentines) Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria. Higuain isn't in the game, touches the ball twice, and scores two goals. Madrid score goals out of nothing."

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence