Lionel Messi has been giving tactical advice in English to his Inter Miami teammates on the pitch, and his new teammate Julian Gressel hilariously revealed that the Argentine star is proud of how quickly he is learning the language.
Messi has never spoken English in public and gives interviews in Spanish, but since arriving in the United States last July he has begun to learn the language.
Gressel, who joined Miami on a free transfer in the Major League Soccer offseason, spoke about having Messi as a teammate on his Player Manager podcast and it appears they have struck up a quick friendship.
“Between Leo and I we’ve had this joke since the first days,” said Gressel, who has played fullback for Miami.
“There was a moment in Saudi Arabia, I don’t remember what match it was, but maybe the first match, against Al Hilal, and he came up to me and spoke to me in English. It was the first time he spoke to me in English.
Lionel Messi began giving tactical instructions in English to his Inter Miami teammates
His new Miami teammate Julian Gressel made the revelation in a podcast appearance.
Gressel also paid tribute to the influence that Sergio Busquets has on the Miami team
‘During the game he covers his mouth because there are always a billion cameras filming him. He covers his mouth and says ‘now we change’. You stay and Jordi (Alba) runs, Jordi gets further back.’ I was like ‘yeah, okay, that sounds good!’
“The funny part was after he said, ‘English, pretty good, right?'” I was like ‘yeah, very, very good! I understood everything!’.
Gressel also revealed how much he has learned playing alongside Sergio Busquets since joining in January.
“When playing alongside Busi, there are times when he falls between the centre-backs and I was positioned as a six and we compensated each other like that,” Gressel said.
“Since I joined the club he is always giving me advice, it’s incredible. He is always giving me something that I can take and improve from. He has a lot of knowledge about the game.
‘We always speak in English, he can express his point of view and have conversations. “Not only do we talk about soccer, we talk about family but also the league, Columbus, the team I played for before, is very interested in MLS, which is great to see.”
Miami won one and drew one of its first two Major League Soccer games this season, with Messi scoring a 90th-minute equalizer against the Los Angeles Galaxy last Sunday.
Messi and his team will return to action on Saturday against Florida rival Orlando in what is World Cup winner Argentina’s first full season in MLS.
Their coach, Tata Martino, said before the game that he wants Miami to be less dependent on Messi than what he has seen in their first two games.
“I have been discussing some things with him (about his workload) and what worries me most is the day to day and how he is recovering game by game,” Martino said about his star.
“I feel that in these first two games we have trusted him too much, which has caused him significant fatigue in both games.”