Former Barcelona Manager Luis Enrique: 'Lionel Messi Is Like The Matrix'

Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has come up with a sublime summary of Lionel Messi and what he is to football.

Enrique, now working as manager of the Spain national team, had the pleasure of managing the five-time Ballon d'Or for three years during his time as Barcelona manager and the two won the treble in 2015.

And in a comparison we can all completely get behind, the 48-year old has likened the Argentine ace to the Matrix.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Speaking to Radio Cataluyna, via Mundo Deportivo, he said: "We're talking about a genius, we're talking about the Matrix when the image suddenly slows down and he can do whatever he wants: that's what Messi does.

'"It's something only he can do. Andres Iniesta has that similar peripheral vision. I've only seen those two do it, above all Messi."

Messi really is the footballing version of the Matrix isn't he? He can often walk at a brisk pace and look like he's not doing anything, then in an instance he turns it on, slaloms in and out of four players and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper.

There will never be another player like him and we're genuinely blessed to live an era where he has scored so many glorious goals and broken a plethora of records.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Despite his glowing praise of Messi, Enrique did also reveal that he had a bit of a feud with Messi during their time together.

They had a heated exchange during a train session when Enrique did not give a free-kick in Messi's favour during a five-a-side game. He ended up being benched for a 1-0 defeat to David Moyes' Real Sociedad before they eventually sorted it out and all was well again.

'Until everything was sorted out there was a time of tension," Enrique added.

"I was not looking for it but it appeared and I had to manage the situation. But now I can only see great things about Messi."

Messi's current manager, Ernesto Valverde, recently gave some wonderful insight on Messi and why he very rarely gets involved in the first few minutes of the game.

He told The Financial Times that "you can't think, you must play" when on the pitch, but he admits that Messi is an exception to that methodology.

Messi often reserves the "first minutes" of each match for interpretation.

Rather than get involved in the opening stages, he ignores the ball and examines the opposition defenders by walking around them.

Messi watches every single step with meticulous detail, fixing every movement of the opposition's position in his head while spotting weaknesses in their game.

"As the game advances, he gets in little by little. But he knows perfectly where the rivals' weaknesses are." Valverde said.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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