Sergino Dest has admitted he didn’t understand a single instruction from Lionel Messi during his Barcelona debut on Sunday, although the U.S. men’s national team star believes he’s off to a good start with his new teammate.
The former Ajax fullback made his first Barca appearance during the club’s 1-1 draw with Sevilla, coming off the bench to replace Jordi Alba.
Dest recently joined the club in a deal worth €21 million (£19m/$25m), joining fellow American Konrad de la Fuente at the Catalan club.
De la Fuente was also named to the bench on Sunday, but it was Dest who made his debut, becoming the first American to ever appear for Barca in an official match.
And, after the game, Dest admitted that it was special to play alongside Messi, even if the two still have some communication issues to work out.
“I saw everyone, Messi too,” Dest told Dutch outlet NOS. “Messi doesn’t speak English, but it was very special to meet him.
“If I’m honest, I don’t know what he told me, but we were both smiling, so everything must be fine, right?”
Dest turned down Bayern Munich to make his move to the Camp Nou , having emerged last season during his breakout campaign with Ajax.
The 19-year-old defender made 35 appearances across all competitions while also earning three caps for the USMNT, confirming his allegiance to the U.S. by turning down overtures from the Netherlands.
Coincidentally, Dest is now managed by Ronald Koeman, who was in charge of the Netherlands team he rejected.
Koeman was one piece of convincing Dest to choose Barca, as was Messi and another former Barca star: Ronaldinho.
“I chose Barcelona because I have always dreamed of playing for Barca,” he said.
“Ronaldinho is my idol and a legend at this club. When I found out about Barca’s interest, I didn’t have to think twice.”
Barca currently sit fifth in La Liga, having earned seven points through three games to start the campaign.
Next up for the club is a visit to Getafe following the international break with the club then turning focus towards a Champions League clash with Hungarian side Ferencvaros.