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11th May 2018

Messi’s adjustment to Barcelona teammate shows just how great he is

Few players close to his level would do the same

Wayne Farry

He is the best in the world, or second depending on who are you asking

Either way, Lionel Messi is very good. At 30 years old, the Argentine continues to defy logic and physics, and thankfully shows very few signs of letting up any time soon.

One of Messi’s best qualities is the intangibility of what he does. We watch him, we are in awe, we know he’s brilliant, but we can’t quite explain how he does it. It’s like watching an opera, or a ballet, or a baby take their first steps.

A recent interview with Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde’s assistant Jon Aspiazu suggests that, bar his ludicrous natural talent, one of Messi’s key qualities is his desire to constantly improve.

In quotes published by Catalan newspaper El Pais, Aspiazu revealed that Messi has been consistently asking how best he should tweak his game and style of play to ensure Barcelona get the best out of forward partner Ousmane Dembele.

You heard that right. Messi, the Lionel Messi, asked his coach how he can alter his approach to accommodate the style of a much younger and newer teammate.

Some of the questions Aspiazu has attributed to Messi include:

“How can I make more use of this boy’s speed?”

“When he focuses, is it better that I attack the first post or wait closer to the penalty spot?”

While these quotes might seem innocuous and what you would obviously hope for from any teammate worth their salt, it’s encouraging to see that a player as truly wondrous as Messi maintains the drive to improve, evolve and consider his approach to the game so meticulously.

Bear in mind too just how many players without barely a tenth of his talent would not even think about doing the same, and it illustrates the lengths to which he goes to get the most out of his team.

It also offers just the tiniest sliver of insight into what makes him the player he is today.