Miralem Pjanic has described Lionel Messi as “an extra-terrestrial” and a “genius”, with the Bosnian midfielder also “speaking well” of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Barcelona midfielder is better placed than many when it comes to discussing the obvious qualities of two modern-day greats.
Pjanic has played alongside both, with two years spent working with a Portuguese icon at Juventus before the decision was taken to head for Catalunya.
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He has linked up with Messi at Camp Nou and is thoroughly enjoying that experience, despite finding regular game time hard to come by.
The 30-year-old is reluctant to enter the debate regarding which of the two multiple Ballon d’Or winners is the best, with each bringing different qualities to the table, but he does admit to holding an Argentine talisman in the highest regard. Pjanic said in Mundo Deportivo: “I can only speak well of Ronaldo, as a person and above all as an athlete. “He’s very prepared and attentive to all details.
“Messi is an extra-terrestrial. Every time I played against him, it was very difficult, almost impossible to stop him, and now that I’m by his side, I see that he’s a phenomenon. “Every time he has the ball, something happens. Either a goal or an assist, or an incredible pass. He’s a genius.”
Messi and Ronaldo are set to lock horns in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Juve preparing to pay a visit to Camp Nou. That rivalry was put to one side when Ronaldo departed Real Madrid in 2018, while the 35-year-old saw a bout of coronavirus rule him out of an eagerly-anticipated continental encounter earlier this season, but they are about to take center stage once more.
Messi will lead Barca into battle with uncertainty continuing to reign when it comes to his future. He is only tied to terms through to the summer of 2021 and has already made one push for the exits.
That was blocked off, with the Blaugrana still hoping that a contract extension can be put in place with their club captain, and Pjanic says the 33-year-old has offered no indication that his thoughts have started to drift elsewhere.
He said of a long-running saga: “Before arriving, I saw there were problems and that Messi was not well. But now I see him very motivated and focused on his work. “It’s up to us to help him and make him play even better. When you have a player like Leo on your team, you have to take advantage of it and try to win everything.”