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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us