Lionel Messi Could Transition Into A ‘Brilliant Defender,’ Says Barcelona Legend Xavi
Barcelona legend Xavi believes that Lionel Messi has the ability to become a brilliant defender -- but only if someone 'convinced him' to play in that position.
The Spaniard, 39, retired from professional football at the end of last season and has since taken up the managerial post with Qatari side Al Sadd, who he moved to after his time with Barcelona in 2015.
And Xavi has been recognised as a potential Barcelona boss someday and said that he wouldn't find it difficult to manage the current crop of players, including Messi.
The World Cup winner told Catalan newspaper Ara: "It wouldn't be a problem.
"I know what Leo is like, and Luis [Suarez], [Sergio] Busquets, Jordi [Alba], [Gerard] Pique or Sergi [Roberto].
"I know how they train, their capacity for leadership, I can tell if they are sad or angry.
"I hope as a coach I could have three, five, eight or ten players that I already knew and that I already had a good relationship with.
"[Messi] is a player who, if you convince him, he can even be a brilliant defender. He has physical and mental speed. He has everything.
"If you convince him to run, what will the others do? They will run twice as much."
The iconic former midfielder has once again emerged as a potential successor to Ernesto Valverde, who is under intense pressure after Barcelona's poor start to the season.
The defending Spanish champions are eighth in La Liga and have lost two matches so far, including a shock 2-0 defeat to Granada on Saturday.
Barcelona have missed the influence of Messi in the early stages of the season after he picked up a calf injury in the summer.
But the Barca captain, 32, came on a substitute in his side's 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday and in their defeat to Granada.
Barcelona will resume their title defence on Tuesday when they host Villarreal at the Camp Nou.
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Featured Image Credit: PA