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Xavi Recalls First Time He Saw Lionel Messi: “You Already Knew He Was Different”

Xavi first saw his former Barcelona teammate as a 16-year-old

FC Barcelona v RC Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

After Lionel Messi’s renewal with Barcelona finally became official, one of his former teammates, Xavi, was asked about the first time he saw the Argentine star.

This was around 14 years ago as Xavi was playing for the first team and Messi was still not quite there yet.

But, Xavi says, even then you could tell Messi was destined for greatness:

"They had already told me that a really good Argentine player was coming from the academy. They had told me his name, but I didn’t remember it. So when I saw him in training, he was 16 years old, but it was already apparent. We were doing one-versus-one training exercises with Lilian Thuram and Carles Puyol. And we were saying ‘Damn, this player is 16, and he's dribbling past professional defenders.’ You already knew he was different. You could see he had innate quality going one-against-one, he was fast, he could score, he could shoot. It was something amazing."

Video here:

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