Zinedine Zidane: I only need one word to describe Lionel Messi

Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane has revealed his admiration of Barcelona icon Lionel Messi in a sit-down conversation with the Argentine.

Messi recently picked up his record eighth Ballon d’Or having led Argentina to World Cup glory in 2022 and is now widely regarded as football’s greatest ever player.

One-time Ballon d’Or winner Zidane came up against Messi’s Barcelona sides numerous times while in charge of Real Madrid and they even encountered one-another once back in 2006 during the final stages of the Frenchman’s playing career.

Zidane also notably managed his career rival Cristiano Ronaldo as part of his initial and successful three-year spell in the Santiago Bernabeu dugout.

As part of an adidas event at Inter Miami, Zidane and Messi met up to discuss a wide variety of topics. During the event, Zidane was given the chance to tell Messi his honest thoughts about him, reserving special praise for his former foe.

Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane compete for the ball in their only on-field El Clasico meetingLionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane compete for the ball in their only on-field El Clasico meeting

Zidane and Messi crossed paths on the pitch once / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/GettyImages

“It is just one word: ‘magic’. I mean, Leo and I are not together every day. So today is a very important day for me because I can tell him how much I admire him,” Zidane said.

“And I think it is magic, pure magic. Magic in the sense that before receiving the ball, he already knew what needed to be done. And especially for me, as someone who understands football. Watching you [Messi] on the field, I almost knew what you were going to do, you know? It was like a connection. When I see him doing what he does, I say: ‘that’s it’.

“So that’s what people want to see in football. There are few, but not like him. Very few, well… just only one.”


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