Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Rijkaard: "Messi can only get better"

Former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard gave an interview to FIFA's official website.

Barcelona are in the final of the UEFA Champions League. How do you fancy their chances against Manchester United in Rome?
This final is extraordinary, it features two of the world's best teams. It's going to be a very interesting game to watch. You have some of the world's best players playing against each other. Manchester United have been looking good lately. They have Cristiano Ronaldo, a good quality player who is able to win games for them. But there is Barcelona, they play beautiful football. They are good and are attack-minded. I think it's going to be about goals, and more goals. However, if Barcelona defend well, I think they can beat United. If they can keep their shape and not make mistakes, then I can't see how they can lose it. But this is football, you never know.

People are raving about Lionel Messi. Just how good is he?
He is an exceptional kid. I saw him a few years ago and I was amazed with what he could do with the ball. The way he handles and controls the ball is outstanding and very few people can do that. Messi is still very young and that is good news, because that means he can only get better as a footballer. Football should make people happy and that is what Messi does: he makes people happy, he makes people enjoy the game. I like him a lot.

It was during your early years at Barcelona that Ronaldinho flourished. Do you think he can return to his best?
Ronaldinho is another special player, probably amongst the most talented players I have worked with. At Barcelona, he was outstanding. His dazzling skills and his movement on and off the ball was remarkable. I hear some people say he will never be able to rediscover that form, but I don't think that's correct. He needs to refocus on his game, he needs to get his mind on his game and then I have no doubt that he can be at his best again. Like Messi, he brings so much happiness to football.

Can you single out the best player you have ever worked with?
That's a hard one, I have been fortunate because I have worked with some of the most remarkably talented individuals in the world. At Barcelona, I was exposed to talent. You had Ronaldinho, who was a marvel to watch. Deco is skilful and talented. Then there are players like Xavi, a good and hardworking man who gave his all. Iniesta is another. Then the name of Messi will come up in that list. I think it's unfair for me to single out one individual; there are other players I haven't mentioned, players I respect.

You had a great career both as a player and a manager. Who had the biggest influence in your football career?
There are lot of people, but maybe I can mention someone like Johan Cruyff. I remember watching him as a kid when he was playing for Ajax, I admired him a lot. Then he came in to coach me at Ajax, that was a great moment for me and I learned so much under him. He had so much knowledge and respect for the game.

There has been a lot of speculations about your future. Have you made up your mind about your next move?
My future? Well, there will always be speculation. The newspapers will always make their predictions. But as for me, I can't say exactly where I will end up. I can't talk about that now, maybe in the next few weeks. I can't say I want to go to that particular club, because at the moment that particular club might have a manager and I have respect for fellow coaches. But if someone comes up with an offer, then we can talk. I still want to coach, but at the right time.

Do you ever consider becoming a national team coach again?
(laughs) I was once in charge of the Dutch team - and then I was introduced to club football! At the moment, no, I think I enjoy coaching at club level. But in football you never say never, you never close the door.

read the complete interview here

Read more:
Rijkaard's last interview
Txiki: "Champions win couldn't save Rijkaard"
Chelsea or Milan for Rijkaard

1 comment:

corazonazulgrana said...

how soon can he go back to coaching? i kinda miss him.

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