Luis Enrique: Messi will take himself as far as he pleases

Luis Enrique looks on during FC Barcelona's first home game of 2016, a 4–0 rout of Granada on Saturday at Camp Nou. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The FC Barcelona head coach speaks to the press following his team’s 4–0 win and sizes up not just the game, but the personality of the man of the match

When Luis Enrique began addressing reporters following FC Barcelona’s resounding 4–0 triumph over Granada on Saturday, he showered special praise on Leo Messi, whose handy work practically sewed up the victory all by itself.

Messi scored a hat-trick on Saturday and, despite the fact that performances like this are nothing new, it felt like the Argentine had once again broken new ground.

None of what Luis Enrique said about Messi was hyperbole. It was all from the gut. The Barça coach made it pretty clear that Messi still has the capacity to surprise everyone and no one at the same time.

“What Messi is doing will last as long as he wants it to,” Luis Enrique said.  “The fact that he can outdo himself day after day is tied to his personality as the number one player in the world, and as a player who is not just unique, but once-in-a-lifetime.”

Luis Enrique continued: “But above all, his team-oriented outlook motivates him year after year. All he wants to do is win titles and help the team; at the same time, on an individual level, his objective is to keep breaking records. For Barça fans it’s a pleasure for him to keep doing it.”

Luis Enrique also broke down the game itself. Here are the highlights of what he had to say:

On Granada:

“They tried to impose their approach. They tried to pressure us with some of their more dangerous players but today we didn’t really give them much of a chance.”

On Barça’s play:

“Regardless of the opponent, I think we would have won anyway. We kept up the intensity all game long and I thought my players looked good.”

On dividing up playing time:

“My idea is to dole out the minutes because, for me, all of the players are important. We need everyone to help and to perform.”

“Once again, I want our team to make it to the end of the season in the best condition possible.”

On some of his individual players:

Aleix Vidal has brought us freshness and energy…He’s adapting well to the system. He doesn’t turn the ball over and he makes key passes.”

Sergi Roberto can do a lot of things, like with defensive work, he can open up on the wings. He’s a key player who’ll be vital here at Barça in the coming years.”