You would have thought Manchester United wouldn’t need to turn to Barcelona greats to inspire their stars of the future.
But in one of United’s academy dressing rooms hangs a picture of Barca’s all-time top scorer and one of the greatest players to have ever lived: Lionel Messi.
The picture is of Messi in 2014 while on duty with Argentina. But he isn’t celebrating or scoring one of his 61 international goals, he’s cleaning his boots.
According to The Times, it’s intended to remind the emerging stars from an academy that recently produced Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay to stay humble, even when you’re at the top.
Messi may seem a bizarre choice, particularly given that Cristiano Ronaldo left United in 2009, but the rare photo shows a true great at the top of his game, getting his hands dirty with a menial task.
Despite making more than 20 appearances in his breakthrough season, the report also revealed that McTominay still parks his car at the front of the Carrington training base near the academy, rather than at the rear with the other first-team players.