Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona was a talking point in some of the pre-match press-conferences that took place during the weekend; the record 6-time Ballon d’Or winner was subjected to praises by two top coaches in Europe.
The two coaches who could not ignore the greatness of Lionel Messi during their press-conferences were the coach of Everton Carlo Ancelotti and the coach of Real Sociedad Imanol Alguacil.
Ahead of the Everton FA Cup quarter-final match against Manchester City played on Saturday, March 20, Carlo Ancelotti who coached Real Madrid between 2013 and 2015 said when he was at the Spanish club, he didn’t use to mention Lionel Messi to his players ahead of a match against FC Barcelona.
According to the veteran Italian coach, he decided not to mention Messi to his players at Madrid because the name used to scare them. He said a similar thing applies to Manchester City that slammed Everton with a 2-0 victory on Saturday, which ended Everton’s journey in the FA Cup.
Carlo Ancelotti said: “When I was at Real Madrid and we played many times against [Lionel] Messi, who was one of the best rivals, I never told the players about Messi.
“They’d just be scared. So, anyway, I try not to talk too much about City. The world knows the players and the individual and team quality [they have]. You have to focus on what you have to do. I’m satisfied because this week we’ve worked well. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to show the same quality as we have in training, but I hope so.”
On the part of coach Imanol Alguacil, his team, Real Sociedad will face FC Barcelona in the Spanish La Liga later today, March 21 at 21:00. In the pre-match press conference of the game, the coach described Messi who has scored 21 league goals and provided 9 assists this season as unstoppable.
“Messi is unstoppable, I think there is no coach or team or player who is capable of stopping Messi. He has shown it and will continue to do so as long as he is physically strong,” he said.
“Barcelona have had a great run since January and for us, it is a beautiful challenge.
“We played at home, where last year we managed to draw and this year, in the Super Cup, we also saw how they played against us, so you have to see if we are able, at least, to be competitive and take advantage of the opportunities we may have.”
Real Sociedad would hope to stop Lionel Messi tonight to win the league game. If that happens, Real Sociedad that currently sit on the 5th spot on the league table would be 7 points closer to the top four. While FC Barcelona that currently sit 3rd on the league table would want to win the game to maintain their pressure on first-placed Atletico Madrid.