Angel Di Maria has jokingly referred to Lionel Messi as a “dwarf” and admits that, having had the chance to link up with Barcelona in the recent past, he’d only ever consider such a move to play alongside his Argentine team-mate.
The Paris Saint-Germain star referred to Messi as Enano, which translates to dwarf in English, but the term is considered to be respectful when used by Messi’s peers about the 31-year-old.
Indeed, the Barca sensation was called Enano by many of his La Masia team-mates as he came up through the ranks at the Catalan club, a nickname that has stuck and is frequently used by his closest team-mates and friends even now.
And Di Maria has discussed how he had the chance to join Barca in the past having spent four years with their Clasico rivals Real Madrid.
In the end, nothing came of the interest from Catalunya and the Argentine remains at PSG but he admits that the only reason he would’ve joined the club is to be able to play alongside Messi.
“I had the chance to go to Barcelona and it didn’t happen,” he told Ole .
“The truth is that if I went, it was to be with him [Messi], to watch him every day, because when he gets the ball I’m a spectator.”
Di Maria is still getting the chance to work with a five-time Ballon d’Or winner with Argentina, having made their 2019 Copa America squad, and is looking to make the most of every outing he gets.
“Yes, I love to play with the Enano [dwarf], I love to see him in training too, the things he does,” added the PSG winger.
“It’s something unique, impossible to explain.
“The other day in the session, [Marcos] Acuna hit a cross that was impossible for anyone and he scored it with a scissor kick. There you say ‘that’s it, leave it, what can you do, it’s a goal, haha’. None of us could do it. For that, I’m here enjoying it.”
Messi is back with the Albiceleste despite having faced criticism of his contribution at international level and taken a break on the back of the 2018 World Cup.
“I see him happy, very happy, he gets along very well with the boys,” said Di Maria.
The 31-year-old superstar is still chasing down a first senior honour with his country , having previously come unstuck in four major finals, and Di Maria believes Argentina are capable of ending that barren run on Brazilian soil this summer.
He said: “The issue is that we are the Argentine national team and we have Messi. It’s hard not to be favourite.
“But we already know that just because you are Argentina does not mean that you win.
“Today everything is very even. If you do not give everything on the pitch, it’s difficult. In order to achieve this title, we will have to leave one hundred per cent or more out there.”
Argentina are set to open their Copa America campaign against Colombia on Saturday .