Valdano: "Messi will continue at this level, regardless of fitness"

The former Real Madrid coach and Director of Sport was full of praise for his compatriot: "Even if he is just ambling about, he'll still be decisive"

Valdano: "Messi will continue at this level, regardless of fitness"

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Jorge Valdano says that Leo Messi's career won't be constrained by fitness or physical concerns and is sure the Barça player will continue to perform to the highest level until he himself decides he's had enough.

"His limit won't be determined by the physical shape he's in, it will be mental. He'll call time on the game he decides the time is right. If if he's practically at walking pace, he'll still be decisive, as long as he has a hunger for the game", Valdano declared in an interview with France Football.

To illustrate his point, Valdano cited Barcelona's 4-0 win over Manchester City from a fortnight ago. "He didn't even cover seven kilometres' distance during that game - compared to the 10 or 11 which his team mates ran. He ran three or four kilometres less than the rest but that was enough for him to score three goals, provoke a penalty and set up Neymar for the fourth".

The former Real Madrid player, coach and Director of Sport also gave his opinion on the battle between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for this year's Ballon d'Or, in which the Madrid forward, some feel, starts out as favourite for having won the Champions League and Euro 2016.

It'll depend on the criteria of those doing the voting - some place priority of the trophies which players have won while for others its more about individual performances. However it turns out, Cristiano Ronaldo is also an extraordinary player, who has the quality to supersede his own records", Valdano said.

To end, the 61-year-old gave his angle on why Messi went back on his decision to quit international football, suggesting that it shows "the love he really has for Argentina".

He explained: "Let's not forget that when he was younger, Messi could have opted to play for Spain - and alongside a number of Barça players who knew him very well, but he listened to his heart and decided to defend the Argentina shirt".

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