Source: UEFA Magazine
Date: May 4, 2007
Link: Original article

Lionel Messi is the boy with the world at his feet. FC Barcelona’s Argentinian forward drew further comparisons with Diego Maradona by scoring with a dazzling dribble from inside his own half against Getafe CF recently and the future could not be brighter for this precocious youngster as he prepares to leave his teens next month. He sat down with to answer our users’ questions.

How does it feel to be compared with the great Diego Maradona?
I’ve been compared with Diego Maradona several times in my career, and although that makes me feel very proud, I honestly don’t think that a comparison with a player like him is possible. I say this because Diego is the best football player who has ever existed.

Your ability makes you the envy of a host of clubs around Europe, but what does the future hold for Lionel Messi?
I really don’t know. I still have a four-year contract with Barcelona, and this is the club where I grew up so I am very settled here. Right now I find it hard to picture myself in a place that is not Barcelona.

The growth problems you suffered as a boy seem to have had no impact on your development as a footballer. How do you explain this?
To be honest, as I was a young boy I didn’t really know or understand exactly what was going on. But looking back, being short helped me to learn how to keep the ball on the ground, which is an asset that’s stood me in good stead.

What made you happier, your hat-trick against Real Madrid CF or the wonder goal you scored against Getafe?
It’s very difficult to choose between those two moments because they were both amazing. I won’t ever forget the match against Real Madrid because it was my first hat-trick and on top of all that, it was against them, our biggest rivals. But at the same time, I have to admit that the goal against Getafe was the most beautiful goal I’ve ever scored.

What was going through your head when you scored against Getafe?
Honestly it’s very hard to think of anything under those circumstances because it all happens so fast, but I quickly realised I had scored a goal very similar to Maradona’s in 1986 when the ball hit the back of the net.

Who should replace Ronaldinho as the team’s leader if he leaves Barcelona?
The truth is I have no idea, but I hope Ronaldinho never leaves us because he is a great player and an amazing friend.

Who is the best player in history, the best right now and the best to come?
Maradona was the best player ever – there is no question about that in my mind. As for right now, there are lots of great players, but if I had to mention one, I would say Ronaldinho. Concerning the best to come, it’s very hard to say. Sorry!

Who has influenced you the most, Maradona or Ronaldinho?
They are both truly great players and I admire the pair of them so much. But the truth is, I don’t try and model my game on anyone. I try to be Leo Messi and not somebody else.

What expectations do Argentina have for the Copa América this year?
I’d love to be called up for the Copa América. I have no doubts that Argentina will make a huge effort to win the tournament. I think we have a good chance of going all the way.

Which club did you support as a boy and would you consider playing there sometime in your career?
When I was a kid, I played for Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario, Argentina, so they are a club close to my heart. It would be nice to go back there and play some day.

Have you ever played Futsal because it seems your technique is similar to that of a Futsal player?
In Argentina, when I was a young boy, I used to play a lot of Futsal. It was a really nice game that’s helped me a great deal.

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had played for Real Madrid from the beginning and not for Barcelona?
I genuinely can’t picture myself playing for a team other than Barcelona because it’s the club that has always been there for me. I am happy with how things have turned out.

Having scored a wonder goal like Maradona, do you now want to score a goal with your hand in the FIFA World Cup?
The truth is scoring a goal with my hand hasn’t ever crossed my mind!