Lionel Messi put on a show against established superstars as a 16-year-old, catching the eye of Xavi.

By 90Min
November 30, 2017

Xavi has opened up about how he was "blown away" by the sheer talent of Lionel Messi when the Barcelona superstar first broke into the senior set up.

The Barca legend spoke to AS about the time that Messi - then a 16-year-old wonderkid - was invited to train with La Blaugrana's senior side for the first time.

Xavi divulged that one particular training drill saw Messi run rings around some of the finest defenders in world football left him aghast, and certainly paved the way for his path to superstardom from that day onwards.

He said: "They'd already told me about this kid, I'd been warned that there was this young Argentinean kid coming through who was very good. They'd even mentioned his name but I'd forgotten. 

"But then, when I saw him in training aged just 16 I could see exactly what they were on about. There was a training drill we used to do in which players are one-on-one against [Lillian] Thuram, and [Carles] Puyol... I saw Messi take on those two and couldn't believe my eyes. 

"I thought: 'Blimey, here this kid who's only 16 years old, dodging past professional defenders, internationals.' 

"Even then you could tell that he was different. It's obvious that he has an innate talent when he is one-against-one, he's fast, he scores goals, he's passes, shoots... He's amazing."


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Messi is set to stay with Barcelona until the summer of 2021 after he finally penned a new four-and-a-half year deal with the club last Saturday.

The mercurial forward has gone on to become the Catalan giants' most decorated player as he continues to break long held record at Camp Nou, and will go down as the greatest player in Barcelona's history.

Xavi, who played alongside Messi for 11 seasons before leaving in the summer of 2016 to join Al-Sadd in Qatar, has also already revealed that he plans to retire at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

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