Former Barcelona defender, Javier Mascherano, has described Leo Messi as a magician who always makes things happen on the pitch.
The two players shared a dressing room at Barcelona between 2010 and 2018, as well as with Argentina until Mascherano retired from international football in 2018, and the midfielder-cum-defender remains in awe of Messi’s ability.
“When he gets the ball, there is always a feeling that something will happen,” Mascherano told The Tactical Room.
“To generate that [feeling] throughout the world must be something unparalleled. And he has been doing it every three days for the last 15 years. That’s why we’re talking about someone different.
“He is a very special person. But not because of what he is as a player but because of how down to earth he is.
“I haven’t met anyone who is so great at what he does in sport and [still] has that ability to come and talk to you, ask you questions or ask your opinion. Normally, bigger people like him don’t do that.”
Barcelona have had some tough years since the combative Argentine departed the Camp Nou, and he believes it is down to a change in the club’s identity away from the La Masia model.
“It hurts me that Barcelona have moved away from the model that made them great,” Mascherano lamented.
“They have prioritised other things and have not maintained what made the club so great and, above all, so different. If there was anything that had made Barcelona different, it was the model and they have moved away from that model for a long time.”