Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis has expressed his admiration for Lionel Messi, but revealed that he has “never asked for his shirt”.
The Brazil international has played against Messi on numerous occasions, both at club and international level.
And he has spoken of his respect for Messi, despite some hard-fought battles between the two in the past.
“I admire him,” Filipe told Panenka magazine, via Sport. “He’s never reproached me in any of the games we’ve played. I’ve never asked for his shirt, because I go onto the pitch to win, not to say that I played against him.”
The 32-year-old also turned his attention towards compatriot Neymar, who left Barcelona and La Liga to join Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record transfer this summer.
“He chose correctly to sign for PSG,” Filipe said. “They will see he is different. He’s free and happy. At the level which Neymar is, you don’t change teams for money.”
And on Paulinho, who signed for Barcelona from Guangzhou Evergrande in a deal that underwhelmed many Blaugrana supporters, Filipe added: “He’ll surprise a lot of people, if he doesn’t fit in at Barcelona he would at Atletico.”
Filipe was in action for the Brazilian national team last week, but has admitted that Real Madrid’s Marcelo is proving difficult competition.
“Almost every time that Marcelo could not play I have been chosen. I know it is not easy to keep that going,” he said.
“It is getting harder and harder to receive the call, there is a lot of competition in that position. It makes me, Marcelo and whoever wants to be here work even harder for our clubs and for Brazil.
“Being in Tite’s plans makes me very proud. I have to always be attentive and at the top of my game.”