BARCELONA

Messi opens up about family, Barça, Puyol and hobbies

The Barcelona captain spoke in an interview with Diario Olé, and discussed his personal life, from his childhood in Argentina to his family and passions.

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El futbolista del Barcelona, en una entrevista para el Diario Olé, ha repasado temas personales, desde sus inicios a sus pasiones o sus cambios físicos.

Lionel Messi has spoken in an exclusive interview with Diario Olé, where he discusses his passions outside football, his sons, moving to Barcelona and the struggles associated with being Messi.

  • Midfielder
  • Argentina

Childhood memories

When I was four or five years old I always had a ball at my feet, as soon as I started walking. I remember my first Grandoli games. I have brothers and older cousins. We used to always got together to play.

The distance from home

I was always crying when I came back from Rosario, I wanted to go back to continue doing the same thing, but it was hard to leave everything I had. I knew it would be at least six months before I went back home. I also lost many friends, it was very difficult to communicate. Today any 13 or 14 year old has a mobile phone, but not at that time. Even more so in Argentina, it was very difficult and relationships were lost. I stopped talking to many people because of the distance.

The beginning of the beard

The subject of the beard was that I had been shaving for a long time. I was with Gillette and they told me to shave as much as possible. Then I said, I'm not going to shave anymore. Then at the 2016 Copa America, there were a lot of people with beards and I started to shave it. That's when it hit me and I shaved it off or left my hair long.

Other passions

I like padel and I watch tennis. I play quite often with Pepe Costa, I run and he shows his quality. We don't play a lot either because we have a match every three days, but I like it.

The secret of the homemade milanesa

It's all about the sauce that goes on top of the milanesa. I've eaten a lot of very good ones, but the one I ate at home is the best. Others have also tried them and they say it's true.

Moving to Barcelona

The truth is that making that decision was difficult, but at the same time it was quick. I didn't even hesitate. It was hard because when I arrived I couldn't play because of a paperwork issue, then I started and got injured. I was almost a year without being able to compete. I trained, which wasn't the same. And then I was lucky that from then on everything went very quickly.

Puyol's mask

At that time I was in Cadets, I think I was 14 or 15 years old... And one weekend, in a match against Espanyol, I was elbowed and my cheekbone was fractured. The following weekend we were playing in the final of the Copa Catalunya, which was played at that time and I don't know if it's still played... And at that age it's like a very important tournament. The same thing had happened to Puyol and he had played with a mask for I don't know how long. And they gave it to me, and I played with it. I trained a couple of times, I went in to play for five minutes and it was impossible, it was too big for me, it moved all over the place. So I took it off. I played for a while, I think I scored two goals and we won 3-0. And after 30 minutes they took me off. My old man was shouting at the coach not to play without a mask, to take him off, I don't know, and in the end they took me off. But at that moment I didn't realise the danger, what could happen. I wanted to play no matter what. In those moments it bothered me, I put my head down and I couldn't see the ball, so I took it off and kept playing.

His children

I am lucky enough to be with them practically all day, to be able to take them to school, pick them up, take them to football, to other activities and I love it. What I enjoy most is waking up, having breakfast with them... Although sometimes you want to kill them (laughs).

Family life

The truth is that we don't go out much because of the day-to-day life of the kids. We have three and in the end you end up adapting to their routine. They get out of school and do something. You pick them up and they do something, until 8:30 or 9:00 when we eat, they don't fall asleep... You make them eat, they fall asleep and we fall asleep too. You end up being very tired.

The parents at the school

I was lucky to have a group of fantastic parents. We started with Thiago's, who was the first to go to school, to make friends, and he has a very good group, and so do the parents. Now it's normal to see each other, to get together. And I'm just another parent.

The complicated thing about being Messi

The main issue is going out. You want to go unnoticed and to get into places where there are a lot of people or in a shopping centre it is more complicated. There are times when you want to just be without that pressure. Sometimes people ask you for a photo or an autograph, and sometimes you don't want anything to do with them. Thiago doesn't like it, he doesn't like to be recognised.... His character is very shy and he has a hard time. And Mateo is just the opposite, he doesn't care if they recognise him, or if they say this or that, it's all the same to him.

Studies

The truth is that I didn't like studying and it was hard for me, but I always behaved well in school. I went to secondary school here in Spain. I didn't pay much attention, it was hard for me, but I was good, I behaved well.

What regrets do you have?

That I didn't ask for shirts earlier from players I played against when I was a kid. Like (Brazilian) Ronaldo's, Roberto Carlos', players I played against and today I would have liked to have had that shirt.

Copa del Rey success

The Copa del Rey was special because of the spell we were going through. The club is coming from a couple of years of where we weren’t doing well. It’s a young dressing room, with a lot of new faces. This Copa del Rey win was a turning point for the dressing room and a very important one.