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Zidane appreciation for Messi: “If I thought one second ahead, you were three seconds ahead of the rest”




Leo Messi and Zinedine Zidane sat down for a chat about soccer in a conversation organized by Adidas, and didn’t hold back on the mutual admiration at all. “It’s a shame not to have been able to play with you,” said the French former midfielder, to which Messi replied, “I admire you very much. We didn’t have the fortune to play together, we only faced each other a little and then later as a coach. Always with respect and admiration for everything you did and continue to do.”

Zidane told Messi he is “magic”, going on to explain: “I may have seen things before the other players, but if I thought one second ahead, you were three seconds ahead of the rest. For all the people who like Football, these kind of players are different. They exist but there are few of them, but like him there are none. Leo is an example for everyone, his life is family and Football. Thinking about what he can do on the field makes people dream. When he is on the field the others have confidence. Before he gets the ball he already knows what he is going to do,” declared the Frenchman.

Love for Diego Maradona

An important part of the conversation revolved around Maradona. “For Argentinians, 10 is a very special number, because you talk about that number and Maradona automatically comes to mind. All our lives, those of us who grew up with Football wanted to be like him. Although nobody maybe reached managed to do that, the desire was always that, to try to copy what Maradona did,” Messi said.

For us, [the idea of] Diego is something very strong, which will continue to be there for a long time, I have no doubt. It goes from generation to generation, my children know about Diego without ever having seen him, just from videos and what we tell them. For us he is very important for everything he meant to Argentina, and what he meant worldwide. He was the player we admired, we watched, beyond people’s ages, because I saw little of Diego. When he went to Newell’s, which was already his final stages, I was six or seven years old, and I don’t remember, just like the ‘94 World Cup, when I was young and I don’t remember that much. Obviously I saw videos and with everything Diego means to us, he is our pole star, our greatest hero,” Leo continued.

Zidane’s hero

Zidane’s great idol was the Uruguayan Enzo Francescoli: “My reference was Enzo Francescoli who played for Marseille - one of my sons is named after Enzo. When I saw him I said ‘I want to be like him’. He was very elegant, how he handled the ball, you didn’t see that much. When Enzo came we saw that he was a different kind of footballer, there weren’t many foreigners around, he was a magician with the ball. I wanted to do the same.”

“I really liked Aimar,” Messi continued, “a player whose way of playing I loved, at River he also had a great team. Aside from Diego, who was a separate case, Pablo was a person that I greatly admired as a player. As a kid I didn’t follow European Football that much.”

Zidane’s number 5 jersey

Zidane also told Messi why at Real Madrid he wore the number ‘5′ jersey: “Florentino Pérez doesn’t like to see players with 25, 30, 35... He likes from 1 to 11. Sanchis, who had the ‘5′ left and Florentino asked me to choose a number from 1 to 10. I said yes and chose the 5. In the end, the 5 for me now is strong because it is my history with Madrid. The ‘10′ is good but the ‘5′ as well.”

Zidane appreciation for Messi: “If I thought one second ahead, you were three seconds ahead of the rest”