Lionel Messi has revealed which player he has a ‘special connection’ with at Barcelona now that Andres Iniesta and Xavi have both left the club.
It is the first season Messi is playing without either of the Spanish duo after Iniesta departed the club during the summer to join Vissel Kobe in Japan, while Xavi moved to Qatar in 2015.
And with the two Barcelona legends leaving the Nou Camp, Messi has named Jordi Alba as the man he is now most in sync with.
‘Andrés and Xavi are unique,’ Messi told the Barcelona website. ‘They made the game more colorful and brought more possession.’
But when asked who he felt he had the best connection with from the current squad, the Argentinian said: ‘Jordi Alba knows me to perfection.’
‘He knows when I will give him a no-look pass. I have a special connection with him.’
Alba was also a part of Barcelona’s youth setup but had to move away from the Nou Camp in order to establish himself.
The 29-year-old made a name for himself at Valencia before moving back to his boyhood club in 2012.
Many would have expected Messi to have picked fellow South American, Luis Suarez, as the man he was closest to.
The pair’s relationship is well-documented and they have a connection on and off the pitch, with Neymar’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain last summer seemingly not affecting them.
Messi also praised the Uruguayan, who has become an essential part of the side since his arrival in 2014.
‘He brings a lot to me and to the rest of the team,’ he said.
‘He leads us in creating pressure and provides strength to all of us.’