Lionel Messi Likened to NBA Legend Michael Jordan by Argentina Teammate

Lionel Messi has been compared to all-time basketball great Michael Jordan
Lionel Messi has been compared to all-time basketball great Michael Jordan / MB Media/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has been compared to iconic NBA legend Michael Jordan by his Argentina teammate, Willy Caballero, who also revealed that playing against the Paris Saint-Germain star is a "nightmare".

Caballero has played alongside Messi on the international stage, and has become his nation's first-choice keeper, even at the age of 39, and admitted he is lucky to have seen the former Barcelona man weave his magic.

Messi's determination to win everything prompted the former Chelsea goalkeeper to draw similarities between his compatriot and the legendary Jordan, a six-time NBA champion.

"To play against Messi is a nightmare sometimes," Caballero told Goal.

"Your team will be focusing on Messi and he creates space for other people then eventually the next person to appear is Messi.

"I had the opportunity to train with him in a small game in the national team. He is a machine, even when he trains, he just wants to win. If you have seen The Last Dance with Michael Jordan, he is like that as he cannot accept losing.

"He doesn’t accept losing any single game so he is pushing you to win even a small game. I remember one day when we were training before the World Cup against Spain Under-23s. In the build-up, he came to me to offer me a solution. I gave him the ball in our box and he ran with the ball at speed against 10 players and scored. Everyone was thinking, ‘what?!’ We saw Messi in the best level possible before the World Cup.

"We were in shock and it was incredible. Sometimes you don’t see that as teams are really focused on Messi and putting four or five players against him. It is incredible. He is the best player in the world for sure."

Caballero also expressed sympathy over Messi's Barca exit, and added: "Now I can see that he is very happy but the days before were really tough. Everyone was thinking about the next move of Messi but no one was thinking about how he thought when he got the news when Barcelona couldn’t offer what they were going to pay, which was half the price of what he earned last season or something like that.

"There’s also [Sergio] Kun Aguero as they are really close friends who played in the national team and they wanted to play in the same team again. I believe this news shocked a lot of people in Barcelona. I felt sorry for him and his family too. Still, it is good for Leo to try a new league. It is good to show that he can still do it and do what he has done in Barcelona."