David Villa: Lionel Messi has made me a better player
Spain striker feels he has improved due to playing alongside the world Player of the Year at Barcelona
Barcelona forward David Villa believes he has improved as a result of playing alongside Lionel Messi.
Villa joined the Catalan giants from Valencia last summer and has become an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s side, scoring 23 goals in his first season at the Nou Camp.
The Spain striker admits it is a privilege to play alongside Messi, who scored 53 goals and set up 24 for his team-mates last term, and says he has become a better player since he began lining up in the same team as the Argentine.
“Messi is a player who demands a lot from those who are around him because you always need to be alert,” Villas told El Pais.
“Sometimes, it seems impossible that he has seen you, but he has. You must be ready for the impossible when you are playing with Messi because, it is not about what he does, but about what he makes others do.
“Honestly, I have improved by playing next to him. In the future, when I look at photos of Messi in which I am next to him, I will be able to say: ‘I played with Leo Messi’ – that is a privilege.”
Villa has been deployed in a wider role at Barcelona than the position he was used to at Valencia, and the 29-year-old admits the change took a bit of getting used to.
“I have other tasks and although it is the same offensively, it is not the same in defence,” he continued. “I am proud to be doing well and to be enjoying football from a position that was not my own until recently.
“Pedro has helped me a lot. When I had doubts, I observed him. When I was a bit lost on the field, I would look to see what Pedro was doing on the other side and he would guide me.”