• La Liga

How Messi has made Djene Dakonam a better player

Getty Images

The Togo and Getafe defenders says he’s grateful to be playing against the best footballers in the world at the Spanish La Liga tournament.

Djene Dakonam played in 34 Spanish La Liga matches last season, as Getafe finished fifth in the table, earning a place in the UEFA Europa League.

And the Togo national team defender believes playing against the likes of Lionel Messi has made him a better footballer.

“Whenever I come up against players like Messi, Griezmann or Ronaldo – like I did last season – it’s always exceptional,” he told BBC Sport.

“It’s always a great source of motivation.”

“As a defender you know these attackers need just an opportunity to get a goal so you have to be on top of your art to containing them,” he added.

“You have to be fast, you have to read the game and you have to be a step ahead of them.”

“I’ve worked hard these past seasons playing against them and obviously it’s improved my game,” the player said.

“La Liga this season has been very competitive but as a team, we’ve improved. We play better now.”

“Emmanuel Adebayor isn’t just a teammate, he is more like an older brother to me,” he explained.

“He has played for the best clubs in Europe’s top championships and has a wealth of experience which is very important in football nowadays.”