Leo Messi, in a recent interview with the Argentinian sports network TyC Sports, opened up about his drive for self improvement and what it was like to break into FC Barcelona’s senior side as a teenager.

Perfection is unattainable

“Messi always pushes himself; he always strives to improve,” said Josep Guardiola in his first year as FC Barcelona’s head manager. The statement, which has been repeated by both Tito Vilanova and Jordi Roura over the years, highlights a very real drive in the player to never settle for second best.

“I never played well enough when I was a kid, according to my father,” said a smiling Messi. “I would score four goals, but there was always something my father said I could have done better.” Four Ballons d’Or later – not to mention his seemingly never ending list of honours – Messi is widely regarded as best player in the world, and by some, as one of the best in the history of the sport. However, despite the accolades, his drive for self improvement remains intact. “I’m my biggest critic. I’ve had a lot of bad performances and I criticise myself each time,” he said.

When asked about how he takes defeat, he said, “I always get fired up, even more so when I’m playing [football]. I don’t like to lose at anything. I play football on the Playstation online, and even with that I get upset.”

New beginnings in Barcelona

“I was coming from Rosario, from my neighbourhood,” said Messi when asked about his first years in Barcelona, “and often times people didn’t understand me when I talked.” He added: “I put in an effort to use common words that people use here so I could be understood. But when I got to Primera [the first team], there was a hodgepodge of languages spoken in the dressing room, and that was comforting.”

Messi went on to talk about the players that helped him adjust to life as a senior FC Barcelona player: “Sylvinho and Deco were by my side, they guided me. I confided in Gabi Milito, and he confided in me. Also, I have always said that I will be grateful to Ronaldinho. He and Motta were always there. Ronaldinho was the leader in the dressing room, he was the best player in the world and the way he treated me made me feel good. He wasn’t about giving advice, but we talked all the time.”

 

Read the interview in its entirety here, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.