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Messi talks Barcelona, World Cup, retirement, future plans – “When the time comes…”



Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images

Lionel Messi’s career is one of the most inspiring stories one can come across. From his undisputed status as one of the best footballers ever to his repeated failure at the international level and his drive to push on until finally conquering the final peak, he has been through it all.

Currently away from the hustle-bustle of Europe, the Barcelona legend is enjoying life with teammates Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets at Inter Miami.

Needless to say, he has nothing left to prove on a sporting level and is enjoying the final years of his magical career in relative solitude.

Speaking on the Big Time podcast (h/t AS) earlier this week, the Argentine superstar spoke about his first days at Barcelona, how he made the transition to life in Spain and how Barcelona played a big role in his adaptation.

“I had a very beautiful childhood, although it was a difficult change. It was all new to me, I was a boy, and it was like starting from scratch: new school, new friends.”

“But the truth is that Barcelona always treated me spectacularly, the fact of doing what I like was something impressive,” he added, which reminds one of why Messi stated he felt he was not ready to leave Barça when finally forced to.

Messi is enjoying life at Inter Miami. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Commenting on the high standards he sets for himself and how he pushed himself to be better at every step of the way, Messi said,

“From a very young age, I was always self-critical of myself, in fact, I still am. Everyone is free to give their opinion, when the criticism is about football it doesn’t bother me.”

“I’m the first self-critic; I don’t need anyone to tell me when I do things right or wrong, I’m the first to hit myself when things don’t work out,” he added.

Lionel Messi completed football just over a year ago, adding the elusive FIFA World Cup title to his tally after a spectacular campaign in Qatar.

“It is an inexplicable joy to win the World Cup. Taking the hard blow from the first game, it was a wonderful month where we had a great time.”

“The best moment was when we knew we were the champions. The feeling that everything was over, that we had already achieved it, that it was time to lift the World Cup. If things had not happened, I would surely have left the national team,” he added.

Messi Barcelona
Messi not planning on retirement yet. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Finally, Messi was asked to give his thoughts about retirement and how far he saw the day to be when he finally hung his boots for good.

“I know that the moment I feel that I am no longer ready to perform, that I am no longer enjoying myself or helping my teammates, I will quit. I am very self-critical, I know when I am good, when I am bad, when I play well and when I play badly,” he said.

“When I feel it’s time to take that step, I will take it without thinking about age. If I feel good I will always try to continue competing because that’s what I like and what I know how to do.”

On what he would do post-retirement, Messi insisted that he had nothing planned at this moment, saying:

“I haven’t thought yet about what I’m going to do when I retire, at the moment I’m trying to enjoy the day-to-day, the moments, without thinking about the future. I don’t have anything clear yet, I hope to continue playing for a while longer, which is what I like.”

“When the time comes I will surely find my way to what fulfils me and what I like and a new role.”

Reflecting on his illustrious career so far, Messi acknowledged: “On a sporting level I was lucky enough to be able to achieve all my dreams and the truth is that I can’t ask for more.

“Thank God he gave me so much on a professional and human level, as well as with my family, my friends. I try to enjoy everything God has given me so far, which is a lot.”

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