How Lionel Messi's 'honest' interview showed his real vulnerability

He HATES being cast as Barcelona’s ‘little dictator’, his wife is urging him to seek counselling and he’s desperate not to ‘stain’ his legacy if he leaves: How Lionel Messi’s ‘honest’ interview showed his real vulnerability

  • Lionel Messi’s interview with La Sexta gave an insight into what he is thinking
  • Messi came across as someone who hates being depicted as the club’s dictator 
  • 33-year-old genuinely doesn’t appear to know what the future holds for him 
  • Messi acknowledged that counselling would be beneficial but he hasn’t gone yet

For so many years he has been invincible on the pitch but Lionel Messi showed his vulnerability in Sunday night’s Spanish television interview.

In an hour of soul searching responses to questions as wide ranging as ‘do you know how much a replica shirt costs in the club shop?’ to ‘Do you think much about death and your own funeral?’ he laid bare his soul and came across as someone who:

-Really hates being depicted as the club’s little dictator picking and choosing who arrives and who leaves

Barcelona star Lionel Messi showed his vulnerability during his interview with La Sexta

It is evident that Messi hates being depicted as Barcelona’s little dictator who has much power

-Genuinely does not know what the future holds for him beyond next June when his contract runs out

-And who has often been so overwhelmed by the enormity of his circumstances that his wife has asked him many times to seek counseling to help ease the psychological burden.

Messi’s wife Antonella Roccuzzo has asked him to seek counselling on many occasions

Messi acknowledged that counselling would be beneficial for him but he hasn’t gone yet

‘I should have gone but I never went,’ he said of his reaction to Antonella Roccuzzo’s request. 

‘I find it really hard to take that step even though I know it’s something that I need. They have insisted many times that it’s what I need. I’m someone who keeps everything in and does not share things. I know I need it. I know it would be good for me but I have not done it.’

The honesty of Messi’s answer was applauded on social media. ‘It’s very healthy for Messi to openly acknowledge that it would be good for him to go to a psychologist’ tweeted Spanish broadcaster Anna Punsi. ‘Too little thought is given to mental health.’

The Argentine doesn’t appear to know what the future holds for him beyond next June

Jordi Evole, who carried out the interview, posted the clip on social media and tweeted: ‘This affirmation made by someone like Leo Messi seems very brave to me. And it shows someone who is extremely normal.’

And normal was how Messi came across for most of the hour-long broadcast – he actually got the price of that replica shirt in the club shop spot-on and he shocked Evole by saying that yes he’d been to his local supermarket on a couple of occasions and he wished he could do it more regularly without it causing a commotion.

So what will he do in June when the time comes to choose if he stays at Barcelona or moves to another league? The sense that he doesn’t know himself yet was genuine.

Messi says he would like to play in the US one day and added he is in contact with Luis Suarez

He revealed that he wants to play in the US one day and in another part of the interview he admitted speaking with old pal Luis Suarez every single day since Suarez left Barcelona to join Atletico Madrid.

You can imagine the pair might have discussed both taking their families stateside to sample life in the US and play out their days in the MLS. But it didn’t seem he was talking 2021 when he spoke of his desire to go to America. It felt like a longer-term plan.

He said he had not spoken to any of the presidential candidates and even took minor offence at interviewer Evole when he sensed that he had doubted the honesty of his answer. Of course just because Messi has not spoken to the candidates does not mean his dad Jorge has not been in contact. Joan Laporta is an old friend so, as Evole pointed out, it would be strange for there to have been no contact.

Messi also admitted to speaking to Pep Guardiola although not about joining City at the end of the season. Again it seemed nothing was being hidden. Messi really does not know.

Showing a greater grasp on reality than some of those who have been, or want to be, in charge of the club, he laughed at the suggestion that Neymar could return pointing out that Barcelona probably did not have the money for such an operation. 

Messi lamented caretaker president Carles Tusquets’ claim that Barcelona would have been better off financially by selling him 

‘I know the club is in a very bad way,’ he said, also lamenting caretaker president Carlos Tusquets’ recent claim that, in financial terms, the club would have been better off selling Messi in the summer. He deemed the comments unnecessary and not becoming someone whose purpose is really just to keep a steady hand on the tiller until a new president is voted in on January 24.

Messi’s biggest concern seemed to be ruining his legacy at Barcelona. He was at pains to point out that if he did leave it should not ‘stain’ everything else that he had achieved at the club. 

Messi’s answers showed a human frailty that belies the omnipresence he shows on the pitch 

He also said he wanted to come back and said he was drawn to the idea of being a director of football: ‘then I really will be able to decide who comes and goes,’ he told Evole – that was another dig at those ‘little dictator’ slights.

No question flummoxed him – not even the one about death, or about his political allegiances (doesn’t think about it/only airs his view in his private circle of friends but wishes everything was less partisan) – and every answer showed a human frailty that belies the indestructible omnipresence so often displayed on the pitch.

That explains why his wife believes a little counseling would help him along. It was, as interviewer Evole said, admirable that he admitted Mrs Messi was probably right about that.

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