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‘Even a little bit of Messi is mucho Messi’, says Sylvinho

Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Champions League
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‘Even a little bit of Lionel Messi is mucho Messi’, says Sylvinho, who believes the Barcelona captain can still change a game in an instant.

A disastrous campaign both on and off the pitch has left Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona in doubt. Talks over a new contract are even on standstill.

Not helping matters was the Blaugrana’s inconsistency and woeful performances in the second half of this season, prompting Messi to publicly slam the club after losing the LaLiga title to Real Madrid last month.

“I’m telling you that if we continue in this manner, we will not advance in the Champions League,” he said at the time.

While those home truths undoubtedly hit those associated with Barca hard, Messi’s continued presence on the pitch will always spark hope. After all, he’s a six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Furthermore, Messi has bagged a remarkable 30 goals and 26 assists in 42 games across all competitions this season.

So Sylvinho, who played alongside Messi during his five-year spell as a Blaugrana between 2004 and 2009, is upbeat ahead of the club’s second leg against Napoli in the Champions League last-16 on Saturday.

“Even a little bit of Messi is mucho Messi,” the former full-back told The Guardian.

“He’s still the best. He can change a game in the seconds. He gets the ball, bluh, bluh, bluh, bluh, goal! A team with a player like that, look out, maybe they can win it.”

It turns out, though, that Sylvinho and nobody else at Camp Nou foresaw what lied ahead of a young Messi when he broke into the first-team.

“He was the same then as now in many ways,” continued Sylvinho.

“He didn’t speak much, he was relaxed, he would just train and go home. He has a great family behind him.

“We didn’t know how far he would go. We knew there was a lot of potential there. We knew he was something different, very different.

“But it’s a lie to say we thought: this guy will win six Ballon d’Or prizes, you never know what will happen.”