Player Features

“We didn’t have a training ground, we used to wash our own kit”

To go from training with Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho at Barcelona to playing in England’s third division is a massive drop-off on many levels. Former Blaugrana star Andrea Orlandi went through this ordeal when he moved to a relatively unknown Swansea City in 2007.

Midfielder Orlandi was a part of the youth setup at the Nou Camp but opted to bet on himself making it elsewhere, but he ended up struggling to reach the expected heights. The Spaniard joined Swansea City in League One with current Portugal coach Roberto Martinez in charge of the side.

Orlandi spoke with Daily Star Sport about his transfer to Swansea City and how much of a culture shock he experienced, having played alongside Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho at Barcelona. The pundit revealed that he had to quickly come to terms with how much he needed to improve while in Catalunya.

“You’ve got Ronaldinho beside you, Deco, Xavi, Iniesta, a young Lionel Messi was there. It was like ‘wow, it’s make or break for me’, mentally as well.”

“Not only technically and tactically to feel if I was ready to be a pro, but mentally it was a big test to be around such big players because if you don’t give them the right ball, or if you’re not able to control the ball well when they give it to you, or you don’t understand where the spaces are or where they’re running to, it’s difficult for a young player.”

He spoke about how different things were in Wales, compared to the situation in Barcelona.

“And when I got there (Swansea) from FC Barcelona, with the big structure and everything was perfect, to Swansea where we didn’t have a training ground and we used to wash our own kit, it was a bit strange at the beginning,” Orlandi continued.

“But I kind of trusted Roberto and his vision, and it’s true that he left after two years. But we got the first promotion to the Championship. I felt like it was a great opportunity. I didn’t really care, ‘OK, I have to wash my own kit. I’ll do it, I’ll get on with it,'” he added.

Andrea Orlandi remained with Swansea until Brendan Rodgers got them into the Premier League in 2011 before leaving due to a lack of consistent game time.

Pundit makes ridiculous claim about Lionel Messi and Barcelona

Controversial English football pundit and ex-manager Joey Barton has spoken about the abilities of Lionel Messi being connected to his treatment as a child. The former Manchester City midfielder questioned whether the Argentine forward would have cut it in professional football without the modification on his Common Sense Podcast.

“Messi’s been genetically modified at a young age, so there has to be an asterisk next to his name.”

“He was given growth hormone and all kinds of medications to help him grow. As far as I know no one else has done that. So, if you’d have left him grow naturally and left him on the roast dinners – or whatever – he wouldn’t have been big enough to end up what he’s ended up doing,” he added.

Messi was diagnosed with a growth deficiency as a child, and Barcelona took on the burden of his treatment when he joined their academy. He went on to feature prominently for the club, becoming its all-time top goalscorer and most decorated player.