Quique Setien’s willingness to allow Lionel Messi to play as he likes could work well for Barcelona, according to Miguel Delaney.
The chief football writer at The Independent was on Off The Ball and spoke about the time he interviewed the newly-appointed Barcelona manager.
“The interesting thing about him - it’s his vision of football. Even speaking to him you couldn’t help by getting enthused by him.
“As a person, I quite like him, I have to say. I found him really engaging to listen to. So from that perspective alone, I'm quite happy for him,” Delaney said.
The Irish-Spanish journalist revealed Setien has long-admired Messi and that he sees him as unrivalled for the position of the best footballer in the world.
“It was August 2018 and Ronaldo had just gone to Juventus and the question was actually about whether we were about to see a change or a new era in Spanish football because they had lost one of their two totems.
“Unprompted, he basically said he just doesn’t see Ronaldo on Messi’s level,” Miguel commented.
Messi is surely happy with a manager that will encourage him to play as he likes and while he may be accused of being selfish, Delaney believes it will benefit Barcelona.
“There was a sense that he was kind of tolerating Valverde and that he got really irritated over the summer with how the Champions League campaign went.
“Because ultimately, the primary motivation of his career now is to win the Champions League again and claim the record in the competition that he feels he should have. It’s what he wants above all else.
“In regards to this and Messi’s forces of influence people might say it’s kind of individualistic and primadonna-ish.
“Maybe there’s a certain level of that but ultimately I think it is about the welfare of the team he’s playing in and winning the top trophies, not anything individual.
“The argument remains, a team built around Messi that allows what he wants to do - it’s better than anything else in football. So it makes sense then to have a manager like Setien in that sense as well,” Delaney said.