Lionel Messi claimed Pep Guardiola did a 'lot of harm' to football in fascinating interview
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Lionel Messi once broke down how Pep Guardiola did a 'lot of harm' to football during his time at Barcelona - it's a fascinating take.
The duo worked together between 2008 and 2012, winning three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues with the Catalan giants.
Guardiola had a massive influence on Messi's career and modern football in general. His emphasis on possession and overloads saw several managers emulate his methods.
Few were as successful as Guardiola, who has won league titles with Bayern Munich and Manchester City since.
Messi believes what Barcelona were able to achieve in those four years made the Spaniard's methods 'look simple'. As a result, everyone tried to have centre backs who played out from the back or full-backs who come into midfield.
During a rare sit-down interview with Movistar Plus, the Inter Miami superstar claimed: "Guardiola did a lot of harm to football. It seemed so simple and easy that everyone wanted to copy his style."
Interviewer Jorge Valdano replied: "Exactly, in every division too, even in the third division central defenders were running forward."
Messi then responded: "Yeah, later I found a lot of Guardiolas around. That's when you realise what we accomplished."
When asked if Guardiola was the best coach he's ever had, eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi admitted: "No doubt about it, Guardiola is special, distinctively the way he sees every match, the preparation for it and how he communicates (the strategy) to us."
Despite not managing Messi for over a decade, Guardiola still believes he's the greatest player he's ever coached.
The City boss currently has Erling Haaland in his squad and despite a storming start to life in England last season and a treble win under his belt, he still thinks Messi is head and shoulders above the rest.
When asked about the Ballon d'Or earlier this year, Guardiola replied: "I always said that the Ballon d’Or had to be of two sections - one for Messi and one for the others.
"Haaland should win. We won the treble because he scored 52 goals but, of course, Messi - his worst season is the best of most players. Both deserve it.
"Egotistically, I would say I want Erling because he helped us to achieve what we achieved, I would love it, but I won’t tell you it’s unfair if Leo wins."