LIONEL MESSI nonetheless has ‘three or 4 years’ of enjoying on the highest degree, insisted Carles Puyol.
The 33-year-old has been the star of the present for Barcelona since his debut for the Spanish giants in 2004.
Lionel Messi and Carles Puyol pictured collectively throughout a Barcelona recreation in 2012Credit score: Getty Pictures – Getty
However Messi has been linked with a transfer away from the Nou Camp when his deal expires subsequent summer season.
Inter Milan and Manchester City are among the long list of teams that reportedly need to signal him.
Barcelona legend Puyol has predicted Messi will proceed to play on the prime degree ‘for some time’.
Talking to Aim, the veteran defender mentioned: “He’s now 33 years outdated and takes care of himself.
“He’s motivated and keen, and I feel he has three or 4 years to go at this degree if he’s fortunate sufficient to not have any main accidents and if he continues enjoying with the identical want to enhance and preserve successful, with that motivation.
“I feel we nonetheless have Leo for some time.”
When requested how Messi has managed to have such a protracted and profitable profession, Puyol continued: “I’m certain that expertise shouldn’t be sufficient.
“Expertise is required, after all, but additionally work and dedication, a want to be taught and be motivated to hunt new challenges day-after-day. We’ve got seen it in Messi.
“He isn’t the identical participant at the moment as he was when he began.
“He has been including information and bettering, he’s a really full participant who can set the rhythm of the sport, rating free kicks, targets, give assists. He does virtually every little thing!
“At first he was superb, however a kind of gamers who you give the ball and he does his particular person transfer. He made the distinction and scored targets.
“He was already superb [at a young age], however through the years he has change into an much more spectacular participant, the perfect of all time.”
Puyol – who retired in 2014 – was within the crew when Messi made his membership debut 16 years in the past.
Revealing his first impressions of Messi, Puyol mentioned: “I knew he was an excellent participant.
“I used to be fortunate sufficient to return up from the academy and you might be at all times conscious of the gamers who come up so you may attempt to assist them as they did with me in my day.
“When he arrived he confirmed that he was an excellent participant, however not even those that trusted him probably the most may have imagined what he has change into.
Lionel Messi has made 749 appearances for Barcelona Credit score: Getty Pictures – Getty
“From the primary day, he confirmed his high quality with humility and his manner of doing issues. He would choose up the ball and go in direction of aim, he didn’t care who was in entrance of him.
“He at all times did every little thing with nice respect and humility.”
Messi made historical past as he scored his 644th club goal for Barcelona to beat Pele’s record this week.
In whole, he has scored 644 targets and made 279 assists in 749 appearances.
He has helped to information them to 10 La Liga titles, 4 Champions League titles and lifted six Copa del Rey trophies.