You may have noticed that Lionel Messi doesn’t exactly get involved during the opening minutes of a game, but there’s a method behind his genius, according to Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde.
In a great feature on how Barcelona are preparing for the future of football, the 55-year-old describes how many of his players “interpret play.”
He told The Financial Times that “you can’t think, you must play” when on the pitch, but he admits that Lionel Messi is an exception to that methodology.
Messi often reserves the “first minutes” of each match for interpretation.
Rather than get involved in the opening stages, he ignores the ball and examines the opposition defenders by walking around them.
Messi watches every single step with meticulous detail, fixing every movement of the opposition’s position in his head while spotting weaknesses in their game.
“As the game advances, he gets in little by little. But he knows perfectly where the rivals’ weaknesses are.” Valverde said.