Ernesto Valverde Tejedor is the current coach of the successful football club Barcelona. Valverde has played for six teams for 14 years during his career as a professional footballer, including Barcelona and Athletic Club, who retired in 1997. After that, he coached Athletic Club, Olympiacos CFP, RCD Espanyol, Villarreal CF and Valencia CF.
Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Barcelona and Argentina national team. He is famous for his stunning header and speed. His feet are extremely flexible and strong. Additionally, his shoot by free kick also becomes a unique landscape in La Liga. Messi has been widely regarded as another Maradona.
When he was five years old, Messi started to play football in a local youth team, and the coach was his father. At the age of 11, Messi was diagnosed with a developmental hormone deficiency that would hinder his bony growth from growing taller. However, his family could not afford the treatment costs. Fortunately, he was taken to Barcelona by coach Cuca because of his talent in 2000. 13-year-old Messi, only 140cm, went to Barcelona training camp in September. His performance conquered the coach of Barcelona youth team, so they had signed a work contract with Messi until 2012. FC Barcelona helped Messi do exercises to make him become taller. Now, he is 170cm.
FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi have signed a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the club through the 2020-21 season. The buyout clause was set at €700m. Therefore, by the time the new deal expires, the 30-year-old striker will have spent 17 years with the first team.
After Barcelona 6-1 win over Girona, the coach Valverde praised Messi who helped Barcelona catch up with Girona and win the game.
He said:“It is very difficult to play a game like this, especially for a player whom we say we’ve seen it all, but what Messi does at football fields will surprise you forever.”
“Messi is the kind of guy who has a huge sense of responsibility to the team. We have several points behind Girona and he takes on the responsibility. Messi just makes it look easy but in fact it’s not easy.”
The match was also special for Messi from a personal point of view as it was the first match since the death of his maternal grandfather at home in Rosario, Argentina.
For the the contribution of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, two of the most valuable players, Valverde said:“They help the team a lot and they are ones we highly regard. Coutinho performed very well in his position. But Dembele had previously suffered injuries. There is the lack of period of adaptation for him. Therefore, he is still adapting to the team.”
“We asked the two players to offense and defense at the same time. They have taken a step forward. Scoring goals can give them the confidence and security they need. Now it is a critical stage of the season, they must help the team.” said Valverde.