It’s hard to imagine Lionel Messi being star-struck by anyone, especially in Barcelona. But back in 2007, the then 20-year-old was so in awe of the club’s new signing that he was unable to even look at his face.
A certain Thierry Henry.
When the Frenchman famously moved over from Arsenal in the summer of 2007, he was already a bonafide star while Messi was still under the radar (relatively speaking) with Ronaldinho and Samuel E’too the mainstays at Barcelona.
In a recent interview, Messi recounted that he admired Henry much before he became his teammate because of all his achievements in the Premier League, where he was part of the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’.
“The first day he entered the dressing room, I did not dare to look him in the face,” Messi told L’Equipe, as reported by the Daily Mail. “I knew everything he had done in England. I had an image of him made and suddenly we were on the same team.”
The Argentine went on to describe why he was mesmerised by Henry’s skill with the ball.
“What I feel for Titi may be a form of admiration. I loved Henry. The ease of finishing an action, how he takes the road to the goal and ends the play. He gives the impression that it is natural. His career, his dribbling, the last gesture. It is fluid, proportionate,” Messi added.
Coming from someone who has gone on to become one of the greatest footballers of all times, this was rich praise of Henry’s game when the Frenchman was on song.
The duo played for Barcelona from 2007 to 2010, when Henry moved away to the MLS. Together they won two La Liga titles and the elusive Champions League in 2009.