The Barcelona star has enjoyed a turbulent international career but a former mentor and coach believes he’s always performed to his best

Former Argentina international and the nation’s current Under-17’s manager Pablo Aimar has stressed that Lionel Messi’s dedication is unquestionable.

Aimar, who also acts as an assistant to Lionel Scaloni, briefly played alongside Messi at international level and was once cited as an idol by the superstar as he was coming through the ranks at Barcelona

While Messi has won trophies regularly at club level, he is yet to win a major piece of silverware at senior level with Argentina and briefly retired from international duty after seeing his country lose the 2016 Copa America final on penalties against Chile

The 33-year-old was lured back fairly quickly however and now wears the captain’s armband as he looks to lead his country to silverware before he hangs up the boots. 

Despite recent turbulence at club level with Barcelona, Messi impressed during the recent international break and scored the decisive penalty in a 1-0 win over Ecuador

Aimar continues to watch the Argentine star closely and is adamant he remains fully committed to their cause moving forward.  

“He is happy, it is no small thing to be happy, to enjoy the moments, and obviously go to the games to win,” Aimar told Goal.

“Do I see him with the same dedication as always? Who can doubt his dedication, I never had doubts. I like to see him play, I would have liked to seen him elsewhere.

“I really like to see him train, I have the enormous privilege of seeing him train. Wherever he is, I will watch him play.” 

Aside from keeping tabs on Messi, Aimar is also coming to terms with how to manage Argentina’s next big talents, having taken charge of their U-17 side in 2017. 

Aimer saw his side win the South American U-17 Championship in 2019 and admits learning to connect with a different generation of players has posed a unique challenge. 

“I learn to express myself, to understand how they communicate. They acquire culture in a different way. I cannot recommend a book because they are used to watching videos of seven seconds or less,” Aimar said.

“But they have culture in their own way, they have TV shows and although I tell them ‘Look, the book is better, because you have to imagine’, but they are going to prefer the series.” 

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