Messi on Barcelona breakthrough: Everything changed after Gamper performance

PSG star Leo Messi says his breakthrough game for Barcelona was the famous Joan Gamper Trophy performance against Juventus.

Messi spoke with Jorge Valdano this week ahead of Argentina’s World Cup campaign.

He recalled: “At 14 years old, the first year was great. During the next year I went up through the age categories. Within two years I was training with the first team, with the B team – it all went so quickly. I am very organised. I like to have things organised and I get annoyed when things are done without planning.

“Before the Gamper I had done pre-season with Rijkaard in China or Japan. There was no room for more foreign players in the squad. At that time Márquez, Ronaldinho and Eto’o were there, I think. That Gamper with Juventus changed everything. It changed the way the club saw me.

“Ronaldinho, Deco, Motta, Sylvinho, Xavi, Puyol… everyone made me feel at home from the beginning. The way they treated me was amazing. It’s not easy to go into a dressing room like that and they made it normal for me.

“I said to my dad I had to do something to make sure that in Argentina the people knew I was here. I had two friendlies with the youth [national] team and then they knew me. I started at about 17 or 18 years old. I went to the u-20s and we won it.”