Former Barcelona attacker Ibrahim Afellay has revealed how he communicated with Lionel Messi despite the language barrier during his time at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi has left the world in awe with his performances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He has scored three goals and provided one assist so far, leading Argentina to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar has been one of the biggest talking points of the World Cup thus far. It is no different in the Netherlands, the country that will face La Albiceleste in the quarterfinals.
having rubbed shoulders with Lionel Messi During his time in Barcelona, Afellay has opened up about his experience with him. The Dutchman recalled how the two overcame the language barrier to communicate with each other.
The former Barcelona striker explained that no one except Pep Guardiola and Gerard Piqué spoke English in the dressing room at the time. However, they all communicated with each other in the language of football, according to him. Afellay was quoted as saying by Dutch broadcasters US:
“Most of the Barcelona players didn’t speak English, except Piqué and the coach Guardiola. But of course, you see yourself every day and everyone speaks the language of football. A few words are enough to understand each other.”
It is clear that Afellay, who left his career in January 2021, has nothing but respect for Lionel Messi. However, he will be hopeful that his country, the Netherlands, will emerge victorious when they meet Argentina at the World Cup on Friday (December 9).
Afellay played 31 games with Lionel Messi at Barcelona
Afellay joined the Catalans from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven for €3 million in January 2011. He stayed on their books for four and a half years, but spent a significant amount of time on loan.
However, the former attacker shared the field with Lionel Messi on 31 occasions. He even set up a goal for the Argentine in Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Real Madrid in the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
Afellay eventually changed the blaugrana for English club Stoke City in the summer of 2015. After a brief stint at former club PSV, he hung up his boots last year.
Messi has since ended his association with the La Liga giants as well, joining PSG last year. There are suggestions that he might soon be on his way to Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami.