KEY POINTS

  • Former Real Madrid striker Valdano also managed the club between 1994 and 1996
  • According to him, players with Messi's backgrounds will not succeed in the future
  • Valdano won the FIFA World Cup with Argentina in 1986 

Former Argentine soccer player Jorge Valdano has hailed Lionel Messi as a “miracle” while he said the sport’s next genius talent will be “more physically superhuman” like Cristiano Ronaldo.

The ex-Real Madrid striker, who also managed the club between 1994 and 1996, went on to add that Messi has the power of a superstar and a hero and that has more to do with his past growing up days when he played in the streets of his native Argentina. While the 64-year-old striker admitted that particular experience has helped in shaping Messi, he also has predicted that the game is changing fast in that regard.

“Messi is a formative miracle: He owes his gifts to both the streets and the academy. Until the age of 13 he grew up in Argentina, with more informal education, then moved to Barcelona where he learned to play attractive football—but it was much more formal."

"The streets have disappeared from training schools for football players. In South America, there are still areas of poverty where football continues to reign. The next Messi will be more similar to Cristiano Ronaldo than Messi, more physically superhuman, more competitive, just as heroic, but cut from a different cloth,” Valdano added in a recent interview.

The Argentine veteran drew a comparison between Messi and Ronaldo’s journey in soccer. Born in Madeira, Portugal, Ronaldo joined the academy of Sporting CP at an early age of 12. He played one season of senior soccer before he joined the Threatre of Dreams, Manchester United, in 2003.

According to Valdano, Ronaldo’s path will be more reasonable for soccer’s next icon and players with Messi’s background will possibly be less likely to succeed.

The FC Barcelona skipper Messi recently defeated Ronaldo to win a record sixth Ballon d’Or award, one more than the Portuguese and his countryman and 1986 FIFA World Cup winner Valdano acknowledged his precious talent.

“Then, on the pitch, he has the power to imbalance any side. He has decided three of the last four results with his devastating influence. He has become more mature and more aware of his power. There is only one Messi. It's hard to know what will come after him. Taking into consideration that a genius is born every 15 or 20 years, the next one will have a more academic background,” Valdano added.