Lionel Messi on going to the Olympics, Pep Guardiola telling him he will play as false nine


Lionel Messi spoke about going to the Olympics and Pep Guardiola telling how that he will play as a false nine.

Messi gave an interview to JP Varsky on Clank Media where he commented on his style of playing and why he walks on the pitch during a match. In the same interview, Messi spoke about going to the Olympics with Argentina. Here is what he had to say:

“We had to get into the Champions League. I had a bit of a long face… I wanted to go and play in the Olympic Games. Guardiola realized it right away. He is a very intelligent person.

“He grabbed me, we had a talk and he told me: ‘Stay calm, we are going to enter the Champions League. You go, I’m going to leave you there, win the Olympic Games and then come back because we’re going to have a long year.”

He also commented on tactics and Pep Guardiola telling him he will play as a false number nine against Real Madrid:

“The Guardiola era was very confusing. There are boys of 6-7 years old who are taught to play with two touches and at that age what happened to me has to happen, to maintain the spontaneity of the South American player.

“I didn’t pay much attention to tactics. With Guardiola I learned a lot and I began to understand much more about the game, about spaces, about ball possession, about managing games with the ball.

“Football has evolved a lot too. It is too tactical. Today any team with a 4-4 line or with five at the back, well organized and well worked, makes it difficult for you. Before, you could find much more spaces. Today it is more tactical and more physical.

“I found out about the false 9 the day before the game against Real Madrid, Pep sent for me, showed me a couple of videos and told me:

‘We’re going to play with a false 9, that the center-backs don’t have the reference and I want to be one more in the middle of the pitch to have the ball.

“To go to Madrid to win Madrid we have to have the ball and be protagonists. If we want to win we have to be far superior to them, and I want to have the ball.

“I want you to come to the midfield, to join up with Busi, Xavi and Andres. If the central defenders come out, we have Samuel and Tití who are the ones who are going to play in space.”