Lionel Messi was the subject of a scouting report conducted by Andre Villas-Boas in 2005 as the then Barcelona youngster began making a name for himself around Europe
Former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas described an 18-year-old Lionel Messi as “very left footed” in a scouting report that has emerged.
The Argentine burst onto the scene at Barcelona, making his debut in 2004 before going on to become a first team regular.
Messi would go on to shatter a host of club records before he exited the Nou Camp this summer.
Back in the mid 2000s his Barcelona side came up against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea on several occasions.
Villas-Boas, then the Special One’s assistant, was tasked with scouting the Catalans and immediately noted Messi’s talent in 2005.
The then teenager was praised for his ability at taking on his opponents and the Portuguese coach suggested that they foul him early, rather than let him get into his rhythm.
Messi was also compared to Ronaldinho, then the world’s best player and his team-mate at Barcelona.
Villas-Boas’ report said, according to Football Talent Scout: “Quality + speed but very left footed. Exactly the same behaviours as Ronaldinho. Inside between lines or diagonals. Encourages team forward by ball driving. Amazing 1 vs 1. If option is to foul him it’s important to do it outside the box and as early as possible. [Has] recovered from an injury recently.”
Messi would make his mark in a Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge in 2006.
The little Argentine played a starring role as the Catalans won 2-1, but incurred the wrath of Mourinho.
He accused him of “play-acting” in order to get Asier del Horno sent-off shortly before half-time.
The one-man advantage would prove decisive as Barcelona came back from a goal down to pick up the win.
The Barcelona forward, then 19, also appeared to stoke the fire insisting some players at the Nou Camp had a genuine hatred for the west London club.
He told News of the World: “There are players here who hate Chelsea more than Real Madrid. I never thought I would hear myself say that.
“I also never thought I would see something worse than the Boca and River Plate rivalry or Brazil v Argentina – but this is.
Over a decade has since passed and Mourinho has heaped praise on Messi, despite spending much of his managerial career trying to nullify him.
The Special One declared him a “genius” and following a virtuoso performance said: “The God of Football made it completely different. Of course [Barca] have a good team, phenomenal players, but that player is absolutely incredible.”