Lionel Messi is regarded as one the greatest footballers to have played the game and he has a unique way of analyzing the game before making an impact. The Argentine gets in the game little by little after understanding his rivals' weaknesses, according to Valverde.
"As the game advances, he gets in little by little. But he knows perfectly where the rivals' weaknesses are."
The Argentine played some of his best football under Valverde and spearheaded Barcelona to successive league titles in 2018 and 2019. However, Barcelona's failure to turn around a series of underwhelming results at the start of 2019-20 season saw Valverde sacked in favor of Quique Setien.
Lionel Messi's future a major talking point for Barcelona currently
Lionel Messi is seen as the greatest player to have played for Barcelona. Having made his debut in 2004, the 33-year-old has made 749 appearances in all competitions, scoring 644 goals.
Messi and Barcelona were in the news for the majority of the summer transfer window, as the Argentine announced his decision to leave the club.
However, a move failed to materialize and Messi continues to captain Barcelona in the meantime. The attacker's contract with the club expires next summer and there have been no signs from his camp about wanting to extend his current deal.
Lionel Messi can start talking to clubs from January and can sign a pre-contract agreement that would see him leave Barcelona in the summer.
Manchester City are seen as heavy favorites for his signature. The presence of manager Pep Guardiola, under whom Lionel Messi enjoyed his best spell as a player, is seen as a crucial reason.
In recent weeks, Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain have been persistently linked with Lionel Messi as well. Former Barcelona teammate Neymar, now at Paris Saint-Germain, has admitted that he would like to play with Messi once more.
Messi's departure would be another hammer blow for Barcelona, who are struggling both on and off the field. Manager Ronald Koeman has not impressed so far, while the financial condition of the club continues to be in a poor state.
Even if Lionel Messi shows an interest in signing a new deal at the club, there is a high possibility that he would have to take a wage cut in order to do so.
Published 25 Dec 2020, 12:51 IST