Valverde spent two and a half years at the Camp Nou hot-seat before being relieved of his managerial duties in January. Which helped the club win a total of four major trophies, including La Liga backing vocal titles.

Messi “Can’t be compared with anyone”

Lionel Messi “can’t be compared with anyone,” says Ernesto Valverde. Who says that the Barcelona superstar is an elementary player for the coach. Valverde spent two and a half years at the Camp Nou hot-seat before being relieved of his managerial duties in January. Which helped the club win a total of four major trophies, including La Liga backing vocal titles. Messi was the architect behind the success of Barca at that time, as he may have been throughout his 16-year career in Catalonia. The Argentinean scored 96 goals in the first two seasons under the leadership of Valverde and was awarded Ballon d’Or for the record sixth time in 2020. Valverde ultimately paid for the lack of success in the Champions League from his work but was always able to get the best from Messi, even though he was faced with constant criticism because of the team’s playing style.

He’s a very easy player for the coach

“Messi can’t be compared with anyone,” said the 56-year-old manager during a conference with the Basque Football Federation and the Basque Committee of Coaches. “It’s tough to tell him if you saw this or another player when he does things in training that you didn’t see for yourself.” Many times, from the touchline, you always think that it can be a better alternative, and, ultimately, he sees it much better than you from the field.” Messi is a very easy player for the coach because he is also a big impulse towards the team. He has high ambitions to win, and he always feels such an obligation to the game as for the club. It transmits it to the band and it makes everyone to be at a higher level. “Seeing his playing is impressive from afar… But even more so up close.”

Valverde encouraged his players to be “aggressive”

Barca’s over-dependence on Messi became apparent last year, and the board ultimately chose to bring in Quique Setien to replace Valverde to restore ownership of the tiki-taka club philosophy. Valverde continued to defend how he created the team during his time at Camp Nou, insisting that he always encouraged his players to be “Aggressive” with the ball and without the ball. “It’s about trying to outperform an opponent and dominate a game that has more chances than your opponent, and they have fewer chances than you do”. “There are times when you have possession and no chance and no chance. You don’t have one dominance, but to have opportunities, you must have the ball.

“I like to be the master of the ball because you shoot it from your opponent. Then the question is whether you are deep or not with this ball. Everyone should see how easy he is to be able to get his signal through”. Ultimately, possession is a way to win the game. This is a bit strengthened by the media, but it is nothing but a criterion. “In my case, it is about the desire to take the lead in the game, and this happens because the opponent does not want to play.”