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The Football Index 🎙 ⚽

@TheFootballInd

Sep 23

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How good of a defender is Leo Messi? Pep Guardiola: “Leo is the best defender out there. Because when he is going to steal the ball, when he thinks ‘I will take the ball off you,’ he will for sure.”

What does Jurgen Klopp think of Leo Messi’s defensive skills? Klopp: “It’s extraordinary how high up the pitch this team [Pep’s Barca] is when they win the ball back.”

Klopp: “And the reason they do that is because every player presses. I think Leo Messi wins the ball back the most when he loses possession. If he loses it, he’s right back there the moment the opposition player takes a touch, to win the ball back.”

Klopp: “The players press like there’s no tomorrow, as if the most enjoyable thing about football is when the other team has the ball. And what that does for them is, for me, the biggest achievement of them all, the best example that I’ve ever seen in football.”

Everyone else loved how Barcelona kept possession, but Klopp studied what they did the moment they lost it. This was a time when Europe had fallen in love with the possession play of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. What Klopp admired was Barca’s commitment to winning the ball.

And Messi was at the forefront of it all. The pressing from the top, the tracking back, the workrate, everything.

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