Ernesto Valverde was sacked by Barcelona towards the end of last year.
There was a lot of talk about unrest between the coach and the club legend Lionel Messi. So what does Valverde really think of Messi?
“Messi can’t be compared with anyone,” the 56-year-old manager said during a conference with the Basque Football Federation and the Basque Committee of Coaches.
“It’s very difficult to tell him if you’ve seen this or another player when he does things in training that you haven’t seen yourself.
“Many times, from the touchline, you’re always thinking what can be the best option and, ultimately, he sees it much better than you from on the pitch.
“Messi is a very easy player to coach because he also has a great impulse with respect to the team. He has a great ambition to win, he always feels such an obligation to the game as for the club. He transmits that to the group and it forces everyone to be at a higher level.
“Seeing him play is impressive from afar… but even more so from up close.”
It is clear now that it only was media hype that strained the relation whereas in reality, they both seem more than cordial.