Lionel Messi has revealed that his headed goal in the 2009 Champions League final against Manchester United is the best of his career, while he also discussed his toughest opponent, greatest coach and more.
The Barcelona captain secured what was his second European Cup win as he struck the decisive second goal against the Red Devils in Rome to help Barca to a 2-0 victory on the night.
And when asked by RAC1 to name his favourite goal, he replied: “I said it many times, the one in Rome in the final against Manchester United.”
Messi has not always had it all his own way against English opposition, however, with the Argentine and his Barca team-mates suffering at the hands of Liverpool in the now infamous clash at Anfield last season.
The Reds, 3-0 down from the first leg, produced a remarkable comeback to book their place in the final of the Champions League, where they would go on to beat Tottenham in Madrid.
And asked about the toughest defences he has come up against, Messi pinpointed his matches against Premier League opposition.
He said: “I could not name any in particular, but there were hard teams, such as the English who were very physical and strong. Football [against them] becomes more tactical and hard.”
As for who he considers the strongest rival he’s come up against, Messi pointed to the all-conquering Spain national team of 2010, adding: “The Spanish team, we played a friendly at Atletico’s stadium (a 2-1 win for Spain).
“Maradona was our coach and it was before the 2010 World Cup when they became champions. It was one of the matches that surprised me the most.”
On the most favourite match that he’s played in during his career to date, the 32-year-old stated: “The one I remember best is the semi-final against Real Madrid that we won 2-0 (in April 2011). I don’t know if it was our best game but it was a unique memory.”
Messi was also full of praise for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, with the pair enjoying a tremendous amount of success during the Spanish manager’s time in charge at Camp Nou between 2008 and 2012.
“Guardiola is the best of all. Luis Enrique is a very close [second],” he revealed. And the best moment of his career? “It is difficult to choose one.
“I was fortunate to live many at different stages of my life but I think the Guardiola era was one of my best moments.”