Leo Messi exclusive interview with Jordi Évole: as it happened
Lionel Messi-Jordi Évole interview: live
"I think it’s great if he gives an interview to put his opinions across"
Speaking to the media ahead of Barcelona's LaLiga clash with Eibar, Blaugrana head coach Ronald Koeman reacted to Lionel Messi's interview with Jordi Évole:
With the Evole-Messi interview over and some post interview analysis conducted, we'll take our leave and thank you for joining us this evening as the Catalan journalist conducted a rare and indeed fine interview with the FC Barcelona captain.
Anyone tempted by the grey jumper as worn by Messi in the interview, they are now discounted via D&G !
Most Barfcelkna fans seem undecided if Messi appears to be hinting at staying at the Catalan club or forging new pastures come next summer .... Personally, I feel the new president may have a key role in the decision making process.
Argentina's Diario Ole picking up on Messi's comment about wanting to experience life in the United States
MLS fans seem to be getting excited about the prospect of the Argentine player in the US.... LA, NY or even Miami....where would Messi end up ?
Despite the folded arms in the photo, Messi appeared extremely relaxed throughout the interview and just on a handful of occasions did not wish to answer Evole's line of questioning for personal reasons.
Everything does point to Messi staying with Barcelona through to the summer and then perhaps off to MLS? He certainly appeared keen on the idea of a few years Stateside and the experience that could offer.
"Bartomeu tricked me in many things and for a number of years"
No love lost between the Argentine striker and the former FC Barcelona president.
The interview in its entirety can be watched outside Spain via this link for the Atres Player International version (it does just require a subscription though)
The hashtag #MessiEvole is now trending in Spain, such has been the interest in the Jordi Evole interview
Mate....an aquired taste I've been told....
The tension between Messi and Greizmann is a myth and simply something manufactured by the media claimed the Argentine with both players enjoying mate (the S.American herbal drink) sessions together with Griezmann a big fan of Uruguayan culture.
Messi was non-committal to the idea of Xavi Hernandez coming in as a possible new coach preferring to focus on the Neymar angle of Evole's question and ticked the boxes on his comments relating to Koeman but little warmth directed at the Dutch coach was detected in his answer.
Messi still claims to have no idea or plan of where his career will take him ....He vehemently ruled out a move to the Spanish capital for Real/Atletico Madrid and rejected Evole's Manchester & Paris travel guidebooks..... It certainly appears that the future FC Barcelona president will be instrumental in the decision making process.
...what have we learned or discovered in the past 60 plus minutes ?
..... and so it ends.... a fine interview from Evole who really makes his guests at ease....an art-form in itself and came prepared with a fine set of questions for Messi focusing on both the sporting side and personal side of the Argentine's life.
Evole: I'd like to be able to hug you Leo but that's complicated with the pandemic.
Messi: Yes, I hope for better things in 2021, this has been a shitty year so let's see what next year brings. Many thanks for the interview and I wish you well for the year ahead.
Evole: Things will end in a fairy tale ending if you decide to stay with Barcelona?
Messi: That's true, all my life in this city ...good and bad times and we'll just have to wait and see how things work out
Evole: What will you do when you cease to be 'Lionel Messi, best player in the world'?
Messi: No idea.... something related to football but I don't see myself as a coach, maybe a sporting director. We'll have to see.
We're heading towards the end of the interview..... Evole's style of asking questions is excellent with a very natural feel. We're certainly seeing a more relaxed Leo Messi to the one who spoke to Goal in the summer
Evole: You'll notice that I didn't bring a Madrid travel guide.... that's not going to happen? Not even Atleti?
Messi: No, that won't happen....neither option.....
Evole: Do you feel if the Camp Nou was packed and you had fans chanting "Messi, Messi" week in, week out, then things would be different?
Messi: Possibly... I'm happier now and it took some time ...even with the new players coming in, that all takes time to build.
Messi: I would like to play in the United States and experience life and the league there.... but ultimately come back to Barcelona in some capacity. I'm not thinking too far ahead in the short term and just want to see how the season finishes.
Evole offers Messi travel guides to Manchester and Paris and Messi rejects the gift... "you hang on to them" he states!
Evole: You will be a free agent in a matter of days. Will you start to talk to clubs next week?
Messi: No, far from it, that would go against what I'm saying .... my plan is to all I can for the club at the moment.
Evole: Who do you get on with best in the dressing room? How do you get on with Griezmann?
Messi: With those players who have been for some time at the club and I get along fine with Antoine.
Evole: Do you have a Whatsapp group with Suarez and Neymar?
Messi: Yes, we speak a great deal and I speak to Luis every day. Last time I spoke to Neymar was after the UCL Round of 16 draw.
Evole: I find it strange that none of them have called you. Would you be prepared to stay if Xavi is brought in as coach or Neymar as a player?
Messi: Let's wait and see what happens and I'll make my mind up in the summer. The club are going through a tough period financially so it will be complicated to bring Neymar in.
Evole: Are you a Barcelona club member ?
Messi: I am but not sure if I'll vote in the forthcoming presidential elections. Whoever comes in will find the club in a tricky state and will have to work hard to put the club back where it was. As yet none of the candidates have called me.
Evole: Do you feel there is direction with Barcelona under Koeman?
Messi: Yes, it's difficult for him as we're in transition .... there are new players and young talent coming through so it's difficult too.
Evole: Why do you always claim that Pep was the best coach you worked under?
Messi: His way of preparing games was exceptional and the the way that Luis Enrique worked too was excellent .... I was fortunate to work with both men.
Evole: Referring to the tax issues that Messi experienced... do you feel that fans forgive everything ...
Messi: No, at some point they will fail to stand by you depending on the situation
Evole: Were you advised by your legal team to stay?
Messi: No, although talking to them, they even conveyed the idea that we'd win a legal battle, but that was the last thing I wanted.
Evole: How did you feel betrayed by Bartomeu?
Messi: I'd rather not comment on this now...it will come out in the future but there were plenty of things...
Messi: It was far from easy for me to say I wanted to leave the club and the city....the family wanted to stay here, this is their home but I genuinely felt it was time to go. Luis Suarez's departure had nothing to do with the decision but I felt it was crazy the way his exit was handled and that Barcelona let him go to a direct rival.
Evole: There were those who doubted your love for the club at the time...
Messi: Yes, that bothered me ... I felt I'd completed a cycle and it was time to leave the club that had given me so much. I wanted to win titles and battle for the Champions League and felt it was time for change. The president then started to filter this and that to paint a negative picture of me.
Evole: Would you send the burofax again if you had to?
Messi: Yes, it was a manner of making a point and expressing my feelings. It was me telling the club that I wanted to leave
Evole: Is there a pressure when they call you the best in the world and have to show this in every game ?
Messi: I just concentrate on each game and not think about the best in the world tag
Evole: How was the 8-2 defeat to Bayern?
Messi: It was complicated, we didn't expect to lose in this manner and it hurt
Evole: Would you be more left wing or right wing if you were to position yourself?
Messi: No, nothing... I just hope that those in power act with responsibility.
Evole: Maradona showed his colours politically.... you've never been tempted to express yourself politically ?
Messi: No, this is something I feel better to keep to myself. I'm a football player and although I have my views, I feel it better to keep this personal.
Evole: Where did you get that old Newell's shirt that you wore as a tribute ?
Messi: It was a old gift from the club..... I felt it was the right time to bring it out and pay my respect for Diego
Evole: Where were you when you found out that Maradona had passed away?
Messi: I was at home with my father and felt a wave of sadness.... Diego meant so much for Argentina
Evole: With games being played twice a week now, do you feel your being exploited by the likes of LaLiga, UEFA or FIFA?
Messi: I understand that TV deals need to be adhered to but feel there is not that much consideration for the well-being of the players
Evole: Who do you find playing at empty stadiums?
Messi: It's horrible...it's cold ...strange and different .... I think that may have something to do with strange results that we're seeing with home advantage being less important.
Evola: Many people you feel you live a privileged life .... what would you say to those individuals?
Messi: It's true.... we do live a privileged life but I'd like at times just to be able to pop out to the market or head to the cinema but that's impossible. Every time I leave the house with the kids, we're aware of hundreds of eyes on us.
Evole: analysing Messi's life ...can you just pop down to the local supermarket?
Messi: Sometimes, but it can be difficult .... I still go to restaurants with the family in Gava and Castelfidels.... I go to the Casanova Beach for example and am good friends with the owner.
Evole: I heard one day that Thiago came back from school somewhat hurt as the other kids were teasing him for being your son..how was that ?
Messi: Yes, that was sad episode but we've seen how the three kids now stand up for one another and Matteo is the least intoverted of the three I'd say
Evole: Do you watch the likes of Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol with the kids
Messi: Yes, I've seen all those .... they also like to watch videos on YouTube and are keen to play with devices ...
Evole: Are you in the Whatsapp group with the other parents at the kids school?
Messi: (laughs) ...no, that's something that Antonella looks after
Evole: How was the move to Barcelona for a kid from Rosario?
Messi: It was tough, my sister had problems at the time and that made my adaptation more complex. I spoke to my father about the matter and decided that I should stay in Barcelona. I got injured soon after a game and that made things even more complicated.
Evole: Everyone is analysing your constant moves.... pictures on social media, gestures.... how is it living with that ?
Messi: There's no way I could live my life worrying what everyone thinks.....
Evole: Have you cried recently Leo?
Messi: For sporting matters no, but yes for a personal issue that I'd rather keep private
Evole: How are you now after the summer?
Messi: I'm good now and the episode of the summer is behind me .... the club is having a rough time but I'm full of enthusiasm but the club is in bad shape.
Evole: I bought this shirt last summer, just 15 days before the 'burofax' ..... I still have the receipt.... do you know how much a replica shirt costs ?
Messi: 80 euro..... Evole admits spending 85
Messi signs a Barcelona shirt and Evole asks what the FCB shirt means to Messi:
Messi: This shirt means everything for me, my love for the club, the city, my kids were born here
Evole: Have you ever used Cristiano when playing on the Playstation?
Messi: Never.... I just pick random teams
Messi on sportsmen who he admires.... LeBron, Rafa Nadal, Federer and Cristiano gets a mention
Evole: I wasn't sure if this interview would go ahead as the pandemic has really turned things upside down but you are one of the few people who have made me jump from my seat in the past 15 years....
Messi: I'm not one for speaking about matters such as a global pandemic in public.
Evole: What was your favourite gift for Christmas as a kid?
Messi: I remember getting an official match ball ...it was expensive but my folks made a major effort and I also remember getting a Newell's shirt which was special.
Evole: What are your Christmas plans?
Messi: Heading back to Argentina for Christmas, all my family are there .... it's complicated though with the pandemic..... it's difficult in Argentina too...
A sombre silence between both men to start the interview ......
Ok, here we go.....
Obviously Messi will have requested this interview with a view to setting a few records straight and using it as a means to potentially 'advise' any future club president of his current line of thinking....
Apparently a still from the #MessiEvole interview, which if true is far from subtle .....
Barça interest globally
The prospect of the interview has generated a considerable amount of interest and expectation with the global Cules who will be tuning in tonight to see one of Messi's rare interviews.
The interview is expected to last for 60 minutes but we will have the odd commercial break where we can reflect on some of Messi's answers so stick with us.....
With tonight's interview we may not secure the answer to the question: "Where will Messi play next season"?, but with Evole's style and technique, I anticipate that we at least get a degree of insight as to what the Rosario born player is contemplating as his next step.
Tonight's exclueive interview with Jordi Évole is the first time that the FC Barcelona captain has spoken in public since his interview during the summer with Goal when he finally confirmed he would stay with the Catalan club. The Argentine did manage to take a swipe at then president Josep Maria Bartomeu who ultimately left the presidency on 27 October.
Messi is still back in his native Rosario (Argentina) with the family and will miss the next LaLiga game with the Catalan side (vs. SD Eibar) as an ankle injury is still giving the player problems.
Who is tonight's interviewer Jordi Évole?
The 46-year-old Cornella born journalist came to national prominence in Spain with his investigative journalism series 'Salvados' which aired on La Sexta network and was hugely successful. The Catalan has a relaxed interviewing style and should be a perfect foil to get the normally retiring Messi to express himself.
Messi is expected to discuss his frustrated exit from FC Barcelona last summer and his current relationship with the likes of coach Ronald Koeman or striker Antoine Griezmann and Neymar Jr.
Messi reveals the best coaches he's worked with in his illustrious career.
The broadcast and our live coverage gets underway at 21:25 CET
Hello and welcome to our coverage of the exclusive interview as FC Barcelona captain Leo Messi opens up to Spanish journalist Jordi Évole in an interview with the La Sexta television network.