Lionel Messi is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, and one of his former opponents has now spoken about the role Pep Guardiola played in turning him into a global superstar.
In an interview with The Athletic, former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic revealed some of the toughest strikers he came up against during his decorated career, and the pain of losing to FC Barcelona in the 2009 Uefa Champions League final.
The former Serbia international named the likes of Oliver Bierhoff, Didier Drogba, Filippo Inzaghi and Peter Crouch in his list, which also included Messi, and reserved special praise for Guardiola's role in the Argentine forward's development.
The current Manchester City manager was in charge of Barca when his side met the Red Devils in 2009, and Vidic believes he played a fundamental role in moulding Messi.
"Guardiola changed Messi," Vidic said.
"He used to play on the right and had a tendency to cut inside. He was dangerous but predictable.
"Guardiola made him central and he became better. The whole team began to play for him. He runs at defenders with wingers running alongside him.
"I played against him twice and we lost both times. It's hard to admit they were the better team (during the 2009 Uefa Champions League final), still hard to say and it's still hard to take."
Vidic spent seven and a half years at Old Trafford, and made 300 appearances across all competitions for United.
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