Barcelona’s first-team players are aware that they cannot afford to accidentally injury Lionel Messi in training due to the player’s importance in games.
The Argentine superstar has won 10 La Liga titles since breaking into the senior team under Frank Rijkaard in 2003, scoring 651 goals in 758 matches.
Ronald Koeman has often spoken about his admiration for Messi since arriving at the Nou Camp, and a particular habit in training was revealed by Jean-Clair Todibo during the reign of Quique Setien.
The France youth international, who is currently on loan at Ligue 1 side Nice, discussed how he and his colleagues made sure they didn’t harm their own chances of glory in training sessions.
“We all knew that he couldn’t get injured,” Jean-Clair Todibo told Bild in January 2020, as reported by Marca.
“I learned a lot [from Messi] and also stole a few balls from him [in training]. But you go easy on Messi; nobody wants to hurt him.”
In what could come as a blow to the Catalan side, Messi will be out of contract in the summer window after being told he couldn’t leave the club last time out.
Koeman said of the situation this month when asked by The Athletic : “I’m not confident about that. I’m hopeful, yes, about this because he’s still a great player, and he’s still winning matches for us, for the team.
“I’m enjoying being his coach; if you look at his qualities every day in the training sessions, it’s incredible. Of course, he came as a young kid to Barcelona.
“And I still don’t see Leo Messi in another shirt other than the Barca shirt.”