Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane: A Conversation of Soccer Legends
In a recent meeting in Miami, soccer icons Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane engaged in a captivating discussion about their careers and the sport they both love. The event, organized by Adidas, brought together two of the greatest exponents of soccer for an exclusive conversation.
Zidane began the conversation by expressing his regret at not having had the opportunity to play alongside Messi. In response, Messi conveyed his deep admiration for Zidane’s achievements, highlighting the respect and admiration he has for the Frenchman both as a player and as a coach.
-THE FULL TALK-
Messi and the Number 10:
Messi shared his thoughts on the significance of the number 10 in Argentine soccer, citing the legendary Diego Maradona as the ultimate reference. He spoke about how Maradona’s influence shaped the aspirations of young Argentine players, including himself, and emphasized the importance of Maradona’s legacy.
Regarding Maradona, Messi acknowledged his enduring impact and stated that even his children, who have never seen Maradona play, recognize his significance through videos and stories. Messi emphasized the global importance of Maradona’s figure and the pride Argentines feel in his representation of their country.
Messi also discussed the evolution of the number 10 position in modern football, noting that its traditional role as a playmaker has shifted to a more interior or false end position. He mentioned players like Juan Roman Riquelme and Pablo Aimar as examples of the classic Argentine number 10 style.
Furthermore, Messi shared his personal experience as a father, revealing that his children share his love for football. He expressed his admiration for the dedication and sacrifices parents make to support their children’s passion for the sport.
Zidane revealed that his idol growing up was Enzo Francescoli, who played for Marseille. He named one of his sons after Francescoli and spoke about the elegance and skill with which Francescoli played the game. Zidane recalled how Francescoli’s arrival in Marseille showcased his exceptional talent and made a lasting impression on him.
Messi also shared his admiration for Francescoli, reminiscing about the successful era of River Plate when Francescoli played for the club. He described Francescoli as a great person and expressed his gratitude for having had the opportunity to meet him.
In addition to Francescoli, Messi revealed his fondness for Pablo Aimar, another player from River Plate. Aimar’s playing style greatly influenced Messi during his formative years, and Messi regarded him as a player he greatly admired.
The conversation then shifted to the changes in modern football, including the evolution of playing styles and systems. Messi acknowledged that the traditional number 10 role no longer fits into the prevalent 4-3-3 system and lamented the decline in training for players in that position.
Messi also mentioned his experience wearing the number 30 jersey during his time at Paris Saint-Germain, highlighting the significance of his lifelong number 10 and the special meaning it holds for him.
What Messi Means to Zidane:
Zidane described Messi as a magical player who captivates all football enthusiasts. He emphasized that players like Messi are rare and possess a unique ability to inspire and make people dream. Zidane praised Messi’s dedication to both his family and the sport, highlighting his impact on the confidence and performance of his teammates.
In return, Messi expressed his admiration for Zidane, considering him one of the greatest players in history. Despite the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, Messi acknowledged Zidane’s exceptional skills and mentioned memorable moments from Zidane’s career, such as his goal against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League final and his performances in the World Cup.
Messi’s Message to Future Generations:
Messi emphasized the importance of respect, humility, and hard work in achieving success. He encouraged young players to seize opportunities, put in the necessary effort, and persevere through challenges. Messi shared his belief that setbacks are a natural part of life and that one must always strive to give their best.
Reflecting on his own journey, Messi expressed that he has no regrets and acknowledged the highs and lows he has experienced. He mentioned the lingering disappointment of the 2014 World Cup final but found solace in the recent Copa America victory.
Lastly, Messi and Zidane discussed the thrill of scoring goals and providing assists. They agreed that both actions hold their own beauty and satisfaction, with Messi emphasizing the joy of creating opportunities for teammates.