Barcelona's Lionel Messi prepared to play as a midfielder in future
FC Barcelona ace forward Lionel Messi has stated that he is flexible to play in any position hinting that he may push back into a deeper midfield role in the later stages of his career.
The 28-year-old enjoyed a spectacular 2014/15 season under new boss Luis Enrique as Barcelona swept a record-breaking second treble and became the only club to achieve this historic feat. And Messi was at the heart of their success as the Argentine notched up 56 goals alongside Luis Suarez and Neymar as the devastating trident (MSN) were largely instrumental in Barca’s trophy-laden campaign.
Talking exclusively to German kit-makers Adidas, along the lines of their #BeTheDifferencecampaign, the four-time Ballon d'Or winner believes that he will prosper in the centre of the park for the Blaugranas once age starts to become a barrier for him to play as a forward.
"I am open to play in any position on the pitch if it helps the team,” Messi said. “A lot of players drop deeper when they move into the later stages of their career, and that’s certainly an option for me, to become an out-and-out midfielder. I have played in midfield a lot already, and I cover a lot of ground there.”
“I am happy to play as a forward, as a deep forward, in the middle. There are many players who have prolonged their careers by playing in a different place, where maybe you don’t rely on being so explosive all the time, on your speed."
‘Guardiola developed me as a player’
Messi also expressed his gratitude towards former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as the Argentine showered praises on his ex-coach. The Bayern Munich gaffer spent four seasons at the Camp Nou and managed one of the greatest club sides in the game’s history. And Messi, who was a centrifugal force in that team’s attack, believes that the Spaniard has played highly influential in moulding him into the player that he is today.
"It is quite odd seeing him in the opposition dugout. Everyone knows what a great relationship that I have with him, and I will always be grateful for what he did for me, how he developed me as a player, the teams that he built. I will always wish him luck," he said.
Messi was questioned about which team's style he liked the most and his reply was interesting.
"Pep is doing great things with Bayern Munich and is creating a team similar to the one he had at Barcelona, but with different players, and subtle differences. He is always trying new things, and that is a good thing for the game of football.”
“We want strong competition within Europe, so I am happy that Pep is creating another powerhouse of a side that can compete against the La Liga teams. Juventus have also done brilliantly, and you cannot underrate Italian teams. Italy was dominant in Europe for many years, and has had a difficult time recently, but they are showing that they can still compete. Premier League and French League are also investing in good players and the national leagues are very competitive," the Catalan star concluded.
Barcelona begin their La Liga campaign on August 23 as they will travel to the Basque country to take on Athletic Bilbao in their opening fixture.