“He reminded me a lot of Ezequiel Lavezzi” – Lionel Messi hails Argentina star who helped him gel with his teammates

“He reminded me a lot of Ezequiel Lavezzi” – Lionel Messi hails Argentina star who helped him gel with his teammates

 

Argentina v Canada - CONMEBOL Copa America USA 2024

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has hailed compatriot Rodrigo De Paul for helping him bond with his national teammates. The Inter Miami attacker said that De Paul’s personality reminded him of former Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) winger Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Messi and De Paul are widely known to be fast friends. The Atletico Madrid midfielder is often seen around the Barcelona legend at training and while traveling to international match-ups.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner claimed that if it wasn’t for De Paul, he would not have been able to get friendly with his national teammates due to his shy and reserved nature.

Lavezzi’s international journey started just as Messi burst onto the scene. The pair won the gold medal together at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and made 40 appearances alongside each other (36 for the senior team). Lavezzi assisted Messi on six occasions, with the latter returning the favor twice.

On the other hand, De Paul made his debut for La Albiceleste in October 2018 and has gone on to make 64 more appearances since. He has played alongside Messi 52 times, with the duo lifting the 2021 Copa America, the 2022 Finalissima, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup together.

Rodrigo De Paul has also been outspoken about his friendship with superstar teammate Lionel Messi

Rodrigo De Paul has also publicly reciprocated the love and respect that Lionel Messi has shown towards him.

On multiple occasions, the Atletico Madrid enforcer has spoken highly of his national captain. Just a few days ago (June 18), in conversation with Telemundo, he said (via AlbicelesteTalk on X):

“I’m scared of the day Messi is no longer with the national team. I always talk about it with him. Everything is easier with him. All our comforts are thanks to him. He is the foundation of all this. He always tells me: ‘You can pick up the phone the day the national team needs anything and I will be there. I will always be a part of you.'”

In an interview with FIFA in September 2020, De Paul was asked about the Argentine legend’s praise for his play. He responded:

“You look up to him obviously, but when you start sharing things with him, he is so transparent that, instead of telling him what you think of him, you feel more like asking him… When he becomes your captain, you’d go to war for him if he asked you to.”

At the Laureus Awards gala in April 2024, De Paul simply claimed (via Barca Worldwide on X):

“As long as Messi is still kicking a football, he will always be the best.”

De Paul and Messi will be in action when Argentina take on Chile in a Copa America clash on Tuesday, June 25.

 

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