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28th Mar 2016

Lionel Messi insists most important manager in career was neither Pep Guardiola nor Luis Enrique

Big shout

Darragh Murphy

Lionel Messi has played under some truly legendary managers during his time at Barcelona.

The magical Argentine has matured into arguably the greatest talent of all time since making his debut for the Catalan club in late 2003.

And for all the plaudits that Pep Guardiola got for his tenure at the Camp Nou, and for all the praise that current boss Luis Enrique has gotten for putting together one of the most thrilling front lines in world football, it’s a different coach that has been singled out by Messi as having the greatest impact on his career.

Barcelona v CD Alaves

“The truth is that all the coaches I had since I arrived in the Primera Division taught me something,” Messi told MBC. “But I think the most important in my career was [Frank] Rikjaard. If he hadn’t trusted in me and not decided to put me in the first team first to train and then play my first match, maybe I wouldn’t have made it to the first team.

“I always said that he was for me a very important person, because he trusted in me, put me in at the right time, picked me to play for the first team and that was very important for me.”

Hard to argue with that.