Lionel Messi needs no introduction when it comes to playing football but it seems that the Barcelona legend is no slouch when it comes to impressing in other sports either.
The 34-year-old has been captured enjoying a spot of makeshift basketball with Argentina teammates Papu Gomez and Rodrigo De Paul. Gomez showed the trio in action in a video on Instagram.
All three players were part of the Argentina squad that won the Copa America this summer, beating Brazil 1-0 in the final at the Maracana Stadium to end the Albiceleste’s 28-year wait for a trophy.
The trio will all play in La Liga next season too. De Paul is back for a second spell in Spain and has signed for champions Atletico Madrid from Udinese, while Gomez joined Sevilla in January. Messi is expected to continue at Barcelona and sign a new five-year deal after his contract expired at the end of June.
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De Paul Talks Taking On Messi
De Paul was happy to talk about Messi ahead of Argentina’s Copa America campaign and admitted that he likes to try and take on the captain in an interview with Sid Lowe at The Guardian.
“Given everything he lives through – you can’t go anywhere; set foot in an airport and 200 people are there – he could be a reserved character, so he surprised me. He enjoys having a mate, enjoys listening to a song, enjoys truco [cards],” he said. “We do warmup games where you dribble, jump a hoop, shoot. I say: ‘Leo; I’ll take you on.’ He loves that. That humanises him. You can see him as existing in another dimension but he’s a person.”
The midfielder was then asked if he ever beat Messi and replied with a laugh, “No, it’s impossible. And I would tell you if I did, eh. You can try to put him off, try anything, but it’s impossible.”
Gomez: We Love Leo Very Much
Messi also enjoys a close relationship with Gomez. The two players were spotted deep in conversation on the pitch after Barca’s win over Sevilla in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey last season, as shown by SportsCenter.
The two players were also joined by fellow Argentines Lucas Ocampos and Marcos Acuna, and Gomez spoke to Marca afterwards about what the players discussed on the pitch.
“We talked about life. He asked me what had happened in Atalanta and said he found it interesting to have me in Spain. We didn’t talk about anything strange,” he said. “We also spoke with Lucas about his injury. We love Leo very much, he’s the captain of the Argentine team and we want the best for him.”
Messi will get to face both of his teammates next season in La Liga. Barca’s first meeting with Gomez’s Sevilla is on September 12 at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, while the Catalan giants face Atletico and De Paul at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday, 3 October.