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‘Pique told me Messi was a great player and I thought he was kidding’

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Leo Messi is undoubtedly one of the best players to grace the game, but his physical attributes shocked opponents who faced him for the first time, especially before he became a world star.

Esteban Granero revealed a conversation he had with Gerard Pique before an Under-16’s competition in which he played against Messi for the first time. He will never forget that ‘Clasico’.

Currently at Espanyol but a former Real Madrid academy (‘La Fabrica’, in Spanish) product, Granero belongs to the same generation of footballers as both Messi and Pique. The midfielder recalled his first clashes with Messi with the day he met the Argentine etched into his memory.

‘I saw Piqué at the hotel. Back then we used to beat them every time, and Piqué saw me and grabbed me: « This year we’ll win ». And I said: « No f***ing way ». « Yes », he said, « we have this new guy and he’s fantastic ». « Who? » I asked. « That one over there ». He pointed to the pool and I saw a small kid, very small. Alone, sitting by the pool with his feet in the water, self-absorbed. Piqué is a prankster, he has always been, and I thought he was messing with me. In fact, what I thought was: « He’s messing with me and he’s messing with his own team mate ». That was the first time I saw Messi’, Granero told ‘El Pais’.

Finally, Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 3-0 and Granero’s memory is still intact: ‘He crushed us. They won 3-0. From kick-off or a free-kick he would stand very close to get the short pass, and then he just kept the ball to himself. He was spectacular. Very short and strong as a rock. But the craziest thing was how he carried the ball. Stuck to his foot, it was impossible to take it away. Shocking, it was scary to think about what he could become. And 15 years later I see him on the pitch and I think: « F***, he’s still here ».

The midfielder’s brother predicted Messi’s projection years before his rise to prominence. And it seems he was not wrong… ‘When he saw him at that tournament my brother told me he was going to be the best player in the world. It was impossible not to think so. Look, he is the first rival: he was at Real Madrid and now he is at Espanyol. But it is a pleasure to watch him play. Against giants you fight with everything and when it’s over you applaud them. My generation has gone through an unrepeatable period with him and Ronaldo’.

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Neymar totally annoyed by the rumor of Real!

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It’s been just three months since Neymar became Parisian that the rumors giving it start to emerge. Indeed, some say that if the Brazilian joined the PSG, it is not to stay in the long term but simply to join Real Madrid without having to make a direct transfer between the two enemies of Liga: Barça and Casa Blanca.

Already very touched by the rumors explaining a certain malaise in Paris, which caused his crying in a press conference, the one who yesterday scored twice this time reacted quite differently to a question on a potential transfer. While the journalist had not finished asking him if it was possible to see him leave the Paris Saint-Germain, he dropped a scathing: You are painful with that « , leaving the mixed zone. See instead.
On the same evening, Neymar returned to the state of form of his team, and wants to be patient: « We must keep our feet on the ground. We know very well that everything we do in this phase of hens will no longer count in the next round. We are in a good period, but we must continue. « 

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The big lie Lionel Messi!

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While his extension is still expected from FC Barcelona, ​​Lionel Messi is far from considering a departure for Manchester City. Pep Guardiola would not want it.

In the British press, this information is presented as « shocking ». No, Lionel Messi should not become one of the new Premier League stars by joining Manchester City. If the British tabloids are trying to stir up trouble in recent months, the Spanish media Don Balon believes that this is a « big lie » because « La Pulga » should stay at FC Barcelona, ​​even if its extension to in 2018 is still not official.

It’s simple, Pep Guardiola would not consider strengthening his staff with the Argentine prodigy. On the one hand, the Catalan coach does not really want to put Blaugranas fans back on their heels by stealing the idol of Camp Nou. Above all, the two concerned do not necessarily get along very well, no matter if they took everything with the FCB during 4 seasons (2008-2012). Their relationship was even rather tense during the last season of Guardiola on the bench of Barcelona.

Since, the exchanges between the two men are limited to simple formulas of politeness, like « how are you? », « Good luck » or « take care of you », if one believes Don Balon. It certainly did not prevent Pep Guardiola to praise Lionel Messi recently, claiming that the native of Rosario was the best player in the world « not because he is able to dribble 3 or 4 players », but « Because it does it better than anyone ».

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Valverde explains why Messi was on the bench

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At the start of the Group D Champions League match, FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde decided to leave Messi on the bench. While the « Pulga » was not injured, the Catalan technician explained his choice after the meeting.
« Leo has played a lot since the beginning of the season. Like all, he is a little tired. We thought it could open more in the second half and it was useful to give him some rest in preparation for the championship. If we had lost, we would have talked about this choice differently, but these are choices that must be made. There is always a risk to play without him, but it’s a wise choice, « Valverde told reporters in a press conference.

By only playing half an hour to the Argentinean, came into play in the 55th minute, Valverde surely had in mind the Sunday in Liga against Valencia.

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