Lionel Messi has revaled he “did not dare look Thierry Henry in the face” when the Frenchman arrived at Barcelona.
Henry left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2007 having won two Premier League titles and was widely considered to be one of the best players in the world at the time.
Messi would become the greatest football of all time, but at that point was at the start of his career.
The Argentinian had been taken under Ronaldinho’s wing at the Nou Camp but told L’Equipe that he was completely star struck by Henry.
“The first day he entered the dressing room, I did not dare to look him in the face,” Messi said.
“I knew everything he had done in England. I had an image of him made and suddenly we were on the same team. What I feel for Titi may be a form of admiration.
“I loved Henry. The ease of finishing an action, how he takes the road to the goal and ends the play. He gives the impression that it is natural. His career, his dribbling, the last gesture. It is fluid, proportionate.”
Henry top scored for Barcelona in his debut season with 19 goals, while Messi scored 16 in what would be Frank Rijkaard’s final year at the Nou Camp.
They failed to win silverware that year but claimed the treble in 2008-09 after Pep Guardiola took charge.
Messi will be hoping to emulate Henry in winning the World Cup this winter.
His Argentina side are among the tournament favourites ahead of the showdown in Qatar having won the Copa America in 2021.
And a Netflix documentary has revealed Messi’s stirring dressing room speech to his teammates ahead of their triumph over Brazil.
“45 days without seeing our families, boys,” Messi said ahead of the 1-0 win. “We had an objective and we’re one small step away from achieving it.
“There’s no such thing as coincidence, boys. Do you know what? This trophy was meant to be played in Argentina and God brought it here – God brought it here so that we could lift it in the Maracana, boys, so that it could be more beautiful for everyone. So let’s go out with confidence and calm because we’re bringing this one home.”