Make a list of all the achievements and honours a footbaler can possible dream of, and Lionel Messi has achieved almost everything. The 2019 Ballon d’Or winner, for the record sixth time, has lifted all the major silverware with FC Barcelona. Only void of the FIFA World Cup in his list of trophies, At the age of 32 the Argentine skipper is still proving to this day why he is the ‘Greatest of all time’ to his fans. However, there will come a day when Leo has to hang up his boots, and the beautiful game will not be the same again. Barça boss Ernesto Valverde speaks of the inevitable.
Messi, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, have become the face of football for the masses of the current generation. However, stepping into the average twilight age of players, the world will see Leo retiring from all forms of the game, a reminder comes from Valverde.
— France Football (@francefootball) December 2, 2019
Speaking in a recent interview, Valverde said: “It’s something natural, it seems normal, Leo is 32-years-old and although I don’t think he’s thinking about retiring now it’s something which is in the air.”
While it holds true that Messi is in his 30s, its not an indication to imagine everyone starts to plan their permanent leaves from sport immediately. Cristiano Ronaldo has been in tremendous form with Juventus at 34 years of age. Zlatan Ibrahimović, aged 38, is planning to return to European football from the Major League Soccer. And of course, the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, who is still standing strong under the crossbar at a striking age of 41.
“But I don’t think we should go crazy about it, we have to look at it naturally. Everyone thinks about retirement when they get to a certain age, but just because he’s thinking about it doesn’t mean he’s going to retire in the next three days.” the 55 year old gaffer told.
Messi, presently competing the 15th La Liga of his career with the Catalans, and he already has already netted in 11 goals, which includes the match winner versus Atlético Madrid on Monday.
His third season since the takeover of Valverde in 2017, and the Spanish gaffer speaks nothing short of absolute appraisal for his favourite apprentice. He continued: “I’m aware of how lucky I am but sometimes the demands of everyday life means you are not allowed to enjoy everything. I think you appreciate these things more with time.”
After Messi’s promotion to the senior team from La Masia in 2004, there have been six managers ahead of Valverde at Camp Nou that the Argentine international has been under the guidance of.
“I’m aware that I have the enormous fortune of being able to say in a few years I coached Leo.” the former Athletic Bilbao coach added.
Barcelona are taking on RCD Mallorca at home tomorrow.
Barça fans around the 🌎🌍🌏: you can 🛫 on Friday and 🛬 in Barcelona on Saturday with plenty of ⌚️ to spare. 📖 a room before your ✈️ and get 🎟️🎟️ 👉 https://t.co/mvrzmT1vGr to see #Messi👇 lift the #BallonDor at Camp Nou with your own 👀. pic.twitter.com/hCuIm9wzJ9
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 6, 2019