FIFA World Footballer of the year, Lionel Messi has hailed former Barcelona head coach Frank Rijkaard as the most important manager of his career.
Speaking to MBC about the coaches in his career, Messi said: “All the coaches I had at first left me things, but I think the most important thing in my career was Rijkaard.”
“If he hadn’t trusted in me and not decided to put me in the first team first to train and then play my first match, maybe I wouldn’t have made it to the first team.”
“I always said that he was for me a very important person, because he trusted in me, put me in at the right time, picked me to play for the first team and that was very important for me.”
Recall, Rijkaard gave then 17-year-old Messi is first Spanish league debut against Albacete in October 2004. The Argentine scored that day, lobbing the goalkeeper after a superb Ronaldinho through-ball. It was the first of a record 449 goals in 520 games.