Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks spoke of his pride at playing against the “greatest footballer ever” heaping praises on Lionel Messi after witnessing the Argentine’s genius at close quarters on Wednesday.
Messi created Barca first two goals, hitting the woodwork twice— the same left-corner-post, in fact — and then scored a superb brace as Spurs’ Champions League hopes suffered a dent in a second successive defeat following a 2-1 loss to Inter Milan in Group B opening match.
The 22=year old who was starting in his first Champions League game of the season, featuring in the entire 90 minutes as he continues his recovery from the ankle injury which kept him out of last season’s run-in and afterwards spoke of his pride at having shared a pitch with the five-time Balon d’Or winner.
Speaking in an interview with the Evening Standard.
“I did enjoy it, “To play against him was an honour. The result takes away a lot of the enjoyment from the game, but in years to come, when I look back and say I played against — in my opinion — the greatest player to ever play football, it will be a proud moment.
“It’s so difficult to reflect on that right now because we’ve lost and, ultimately, that’s the most important thing. I’m gutted.
“The only way I can really describe [facing him] is he’s just completed football. The man just knows where everybody is. His weight of pass is just exceptional. He’s just special. But everyone who has played against him has said the same thing for years.”
The England international, who broke into the Spurs first team in 2016, has relished the opportunity to learn from Europe’s finest as Tottenham seek to establish themselves as a regular presence on the continent.
“For me, it was special to play against a player like that. I learnt a lot from it. I’ll watch the game back and I’ll dissect my game. There were times when I gave the ball away sloppily, which wasn’t good enough.
“Rubbing shoulders with players like [Ivan] Rakitic and [Sergio] Busquets is always a good lesson to learn from. I went into the game respecting them, but at the same time you’ve got to go out there to kill them.”