Leo Messi took the opportunity to discuss several matters surrounding Barcelona and his own aspirations after picking up The Best FIFA Men’s Player award in Milan on Monday night.
Among the topics that came up was the rise of teenage sensation Ansu Fati, who has been the big positive of an underwhelming start to the campaign for the Blaugrana.
Messi knows all about the expectations that come with being labelled the next big thing at a club like Barcelona, which was why the Argentine hopes Fati will be given the time to grow.
“I like [Fati] a lot and I try to help him and support him,” he told FIFA’s magazine.
“He is a fantastic footballer and he has what it takes to succeed.
“But if I look at it from my perspective, I would like [Barcelona] to bring him up gradually as they did with me when I started. Doing things well and calmly, little by little and without pressure.
“We cannot forget that he is only 16. He must continue to enjoy his football and ensure that the noise surrounding him does not have a negative impact, because he has the quality to be among the best,” Messi said.
Messi scooped the men’s prize at The Best gala, and the chase of his sixth Ballon d’Or looks good.
“It was a strange season. We were having a fantastic campaign as a team and then the game against Liverpool changed everything.
“It was a tremendous setback despite winning the league. We did not prepare well for the Copa del Rey either and that was another disappointment for us.
“That match [at Anfield] was the stain on a season that was going perfectly until then.”
On the season ahead, Messi remains optimistic for both club and country.
“My goal is to win all of the titles possible.
“It has been four years since we won the Champions League and we want to win it again.
“But to do so, we have to do our job each day.
“I also want the Copa America, I want to go again,” he stated.
Messi beat Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo to FIFA’s top individual award on Monday and the Argentine spoke of his rivalry with the Portuguese star.
“The sporting rivalry was huge. I played for Barcelona, he played for Real Madrid.
“We both win individual awards. People think that we also take that rivalry to a personal level but it is not so,” Messi mentioned.
“We want the best for our teams and none of us like to lose, that’s is where our rivalry comes from,” he stated.