“I am not saying this because he is here”

Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi showered praise on legendary French footballer Zinedine Zidane in a recent interview.

Zidane is widely regarded as one of the finest players to grace the football field. The Frenchman was known for his immaculate playmaking skills, dribbling ability, and elegance on the ball.

Zidane won 13 major titles for club and country, including the FIFA World Cup (1998) and the UEFA Champions League (2001-02), during a 17-year-long senior career. The 1998 Ballon d’Or winner made over 200 appearances each for Juventus and Real Madrid before hanging up his boots in 2006.

Messi recently sat down with the 51-year-old Frenchman for an interview put in place by Adidas Football. The Argentine superstar lauded Zidane and called him ‘one of the greatest players in history’.

Messi said (h/t @AlbicelesteTalk on X):

“I am not saying this because he is here, but I have said it several times before. Zidane is one of the greatest players in history, and I have always admired and loved him. I used to follow him a lot in Madrid and I also suffered from him a lot because I am from Barcelona. Zidane is elegance, art, magic and everything.

“I have many memories of him, including his goal against Leverkusen in the Champions League final, his goals against Brazil in the World Cup final, the iconic spinning move he used to do, and the famous Valencia goal.”

Like Messi, Zidane played in two FIFA World Cup finals — losing and winning one each. He scored a brace in the 1998 edition when France beat Brazil 3-0 in the final and also got his name on the scoresheet in the 2006 final against Italy. However, He was sent off for a headbutt on Marco Materazzi, with Les Bleus losing the final on penalties.

Lionel Messi says he regrets losing the 2014 FIFA World Cup final

During the interview, Zinedine Zidane asked Lionel Messi if the latter wanted to replay a game from his past.

The Inter Miami playmaker responded by saying, via the aforementioned source:

“I have not regretted anything in my career, but the 2014 World Cup final is still stuck in my mind, although I can forget it a little with this World Cup…”

Messi scored four goals and provided an assist in six 2014 FIFA World Cup matches before the final against Germany. But the former Barcelona superstar was largely kept quiet by the German’s solid backline.

Mario Gotze came on in extra time to score the winner and hand Germany their fourth FIFA World Cup title. Eight and a half years later, Messi finally got his hands on the coveted trophy when Argentina beat France in the final on penalties (3-3 A.E.T).

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