To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

The genius reason why Lionel Messi ignores the ball in the 'first minutes' of most games

The genius reason why Lionel Messi ignores the ball in the 'first minutes' of most games

Lionel Messi will often ignore the ball in the opening stages of a game.

Lionel Messi is rarely involved in the opening minutes of a game but there's a method behind his genius, according to former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde.

The 60-year-old, who replaced Luis Enrique as Barca boss in the summer of 2017, gave an insight into his methods and described how many of his players "interpret" play.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Valverde explained why "you can't think, you must play" when on the pitch but pointed at Messi as an exception to that process.

Unlike many of his teammates, Messi will tend to reserve the "first minutes" of each match for interpretation.

Rather than get involved in play, he will often ignore the ball to examine opposition defenders. Messi walks around them, fixing every movement of the opposition's position in his head while spotting weaknesses in their game.

He watches every single step with meticulous detail. "As the game advances, he gets in little by little. But he knows perfectly where the rivals' weaknesses are," Valverde added.

In the lengthy feature, former club president Josep Bartomeu also opened up on how players have rejected Barcelona in the past because of the incredible competition within their first-team squad.

"Not all the players I wanted to sign have come to Barcelona," explained Bartomeu.

"I have examples that I cannot say - very important players now playing at other clubs. We told them to come, they were excited but at the last moment they said: 'I can't sign because I will be on the bench,'

"We don't want them. Sometimes, they are not strong enough to say: 'where do you want me to play? Xavi is playing, why do you want me? You wan't me to play in Lionel Messi's position? I can't."

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

One thing is for certain, Barcelona have struggled to replace the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner since his shock departure in 2021.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images - MLS

Topics: Lionel Messi, Inter Miami, Barcelona, La Liga