Messi adores his best mate Suarez

Lionel Messi names his 10 favourite team-mates: No Mbappe or Pique…

Lionel Messi has picked out 10 of his favourite team-mates from his wonderful career – and all of them lined up alongside the legendary Argentinian at Barcelona.

Speaking in an interview with Chinese outlet Titan Sports, Messi was asked who he most enjoyed playing alongside. He responded with 10 names – all midfielders or fellow forwards – and the likes of Thierry Henry and Kylian Mbappe missed out.

Here are the 10 players Messi mentioned.


It ought to be no surprise that the legendary Brazilian was the first name out of Messi’s mouth. Ronaldinho assisted his first-ever goal for Barcelona, and their connection on and off the pitch is something he’s spoken of often.

“Ronaldinho helped me a lot. I came into the dressing room at 16-17 years of age, seeing all those footballing giants made it tough,” Messi told TyC Sports in 2019.

“But he mentored me and made me feel comfortable, and I loosened up. Afterwards on the pitch, I always looked for him but we didn’t have many years to enjoy together. Besides, we didn’t play as much at that time. I would have liked to play more with Ronaldinho.”


A slightly surprising choice, given the calibre of some of the names that miss out. Yet there’s a certain degree of logic, given what an influential figure Deco was in Barcelona’s dressing room during Messi’s early breakthrough years.

The former Portugal international, who now serves as Barcelona’s sporting director, was at the peak of his powers during his time at the Camp Nou between 2004 and 2008 – particularly good in the La Liga & Champions League-winning campaign of 2005-06.

Samuel Eto’o

One of the greatest goalscorers in Barcelona’s history, Eto’o and Messi were on fire during Barcelona’s legendary and historic 2008-09 treble-winning season.

“[Messi] confessed to me that, thanks to my advice, which I am not going to reveal, his career had changed,” Eto’o later recalled in an interview with DAZN.

“One day he said: ‘Thanks to Samuel, my career changed’. He had to fix two or three things but he has always had the talent.

“I am proud and happy to see that he has written history which has yet to be finished, and it will be very difficult to beat what he has written.”

Luis Suarez

The least surprising entry of all. Messi bloody loves Suarez – and no wonder, given all the assists.

All eyes on their Miami reunion in 2024.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) and Luis Suarez celebrate a goal against Granada, Barcelona v Granada - Spanish Liga - Camp Nou stadium, Barcelona, 9th January 2016

READ: The 5 players with the most assists for Lionel Messi goals: Suarez, Xavi…

Andres Iniesta

Here, we’re just going to treat you with this lovely Messi passage from the excellent The Artist: Being Iniesta:

“I always picture him with the ball at his feet. That’s the way I have got used to seeing him.

“He does everything well, with simplicity. At times, it may look like he’s not doing anything, but in fact he’s doing it all. Everything is different with Andres. The hardest thing to do in football is to make it look like everything is easy, effortless, and that’s Andres.

“He has more contact with the ball than me; he’s the person who starts moves, who gets things going. I know how difficult it is to do what he does. His play is different, it comes from when he was very little, even though he has clearly improved over time and with different coaches. Maybe you could say that both of us have something of the street in the way we play.

“When you’re a kid playing on the streets you take on board things that are very useful to you later. You get used to playing with older players and not changing your game because of that; you play your way. Andres and I are similar in that we both use our bodies a lot, to avoid opponents.

“But he has something that always amazes me: there’s always a moment when you think you’re going to catch him, when you think you’re going to get the ball off him, but you can’t. He’s not especially quick, but he has that ability to always get away from you, which comes from his technique.”

Xavi Hernandez

Xavi and Messi’s relationship reportedly remains strong all these years later. The pair were said to be in contact over a possible return to the Camp Nou once Messi’s contract expired at PSG, although the pull of one of his favourite old team-mates in the dugout wasn’t quite enough for a reunion.

Sergio Busquets

It’s no surprise to see Barcelona’s era-defining triumvirate complete here.

Messi and Busquets are back together once again at Inter Miami. The pair have won no fewer than 31 pieces of silverware together. Ridiculous.


“I was lucky enough to play with the best players and enjoy the game with them. Speaking of which, I almost forgot about Neymar because there are so many people,” is where Neymar’s name came into the mix after he mentioned the above seven names.

Messi and Neymar seem like very different characters, but they really clicked on the pitch and by all accounts enjoyed a strong relationship off it too.

The Brazilian is the only player that Messi played alongside at PSG that made the cut.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Perhaps the most surprising name of all, given that it’s been widely reported that the pair didn’t see eye-to-eye during their year together at Barcelona.

It’s said that following the Swede’s signing, Messi sent a text to Guardiola stating he was unhappy and felt undervalued. And the feeling was apparently mutual.

“[Pep] preferred to make Messi happy – he didn’t value me,” Ibrahimovic wrote years later in his autobiography.

“I’ve been comfortable playing with all of them, or almost all of them, because I’ve been lucky enough to play with the best of them…” Messi said after picking out his favourite team-mates. You don’t need to read between the lines to guess that the ‘almost all of them’ might be referring to Ibra there.

David Villa

Before the MSN era, it looked as though Barcelona’s forward line of Messi-Pedro-Villa would take some beating. All three of them got on the scoresheet in the 2011 Champions League final victory over Manchester United, while all three of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets registered assists.

The Spain legend wasn’t at Barcelona all that long, but he evidently left a big impression.

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