Joan Roman, a former team-mate of the mercurial Argentine, has hailed the Barcelona superstar and supported Manchester City’s academy structure
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Lionel Messi is considered to be a life form from another planet by Joan Roman, a one-time team-mate of the Barcelona superstar.
Many consider the mercurial Argentine to boast unworldly talent, with the bar of individual excellence having been raised to never before seen heights.
A five-time Ballon d’Or winner has safely secured a standing among the all-time greats, with a loyal legion of supporters suggesting that he may already top that list even without international honours.
Roman would not argue against that, with a man who spent three years alongside Messi at Camp Nou between 2012 and 2015 considering him to be without equal.
“I’ve never seen anyone from another planet, but it must be similar to him [Messi],” Roman told Planet Football.
“What you see on TV is what he does in training, you cannot get near him.
“His legs are so powerful, when he controls the ball, it’s like he has glue on his boot and he makes it look so easy, which makes you think you can do it too, but you try and you can’t, he is just something else. The best I have ever seen.”
Roman, who is a Catalan native, added on the other iconic talents he got to work with at Barca: “Iniesta and Xavi were also like they were from a different planet.
“Iniesta looked like he was floating with the ball, he would dribble past everyone like this.
“Xavi was able to control the ball with his head up and never lose control of it, it was unbelievable.
“I’ve always been so lucky to train with the best players in the world, but Messi is at another level.”
Prior to linking up with Barcelona, Ramon also rubbed shoulders with elite performers during a three-year stint in Manchester City’s academy system.
He has not gone on to enjoy the success expected of him, as he is now on the books of Polish side Miedz Legnica, but several other Blues graduates have graced the top of the game.
Among those are the likes of Kieran Trippier, Loris Karius, Adrien Rabiot and Ben Mee.
“All the youngsters I played with at City are now playing in top leagues: John Guidetti, [Omar] Elabdellaoui, Denis Suarez and Ahmad Benali,” Roman, who has also spent time with Braga and AEL Limassol, added.
“Loris is doing well too. Not everyone can be a superstar, but your schooling at City can make you know how to have a great career.”
“It’s a success [the academy] because you train with the best players, the best coaching staff, so you learn a lot.
“It makes you evolve and grow into a better player.
“You’re under the pressure that you’re training with the best, so you have to be at that level. It gives you a mindset of if you don’t make it into the first team at City, which is very difficult, you know that you are going to go somewhere else and make a success of it.
“Obviously it would be a success if there were more players in the first team, but this is also a success to bring so many players through that can play at the top level in other places.”