Former Tottenham and Portsmouth forward Kevin-Prince Boateng has heaped praise on Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Speaking to DAZN, the 33-year-old said his six-month spell at the Camp Nou in 2018-19 showed him just how good the Argentine was.
So good, in fact, that Boateng said he had considered hanging up his boots entirely while at the Catalan club.
Boateng joined Barcelona on a move from Sassuolo in January of last year, and – despite picking up little game time – the defender was able to pick up a La Liga title for his exploits.
Speaking about his time at Camp Nou that season, Kevin-Prince recalls the shock he felt after receiving interest from a club like Barcelona at that stage in his career, and the wonders of Messi during training.
“The six months at Barcelona were incredible. At first, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was Espanyol who wanted me, not the real Barcelona!
“Training with Messi left me speechless. I had always said that Cristiano Ronaldo was the best in the world, but Messi is something else. He’s not normal.”
Messi has been criticised by former coaches as being difficult to manage, Boateng just felt “inadequate”.
“While training with him, I felt inadequate for the first time in my career. He was doing incredible things. I felt like saying, ‘I’m done, I’m going to quit playing!’”
Boateng has had the privilege of sharing a pitch with some of the world’s best players throughout his career, but believes his mentality stopped him from reaching those levels of greatness.
“Often, I trusted only my talent and, with the talent I have, without being arrogant, I could have done a lot more. Although, I have had a beautiful career anyway.”
In the later stages of his career Boateng has turned to off-field activism, speaking out frequently against racism in and out of football.