Lionel Messi: Is Barcelona star taking first steps towards management?

Alena, 20, is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in European football.

And, according to Mundo Deportivo, Messi is taking a keen interest in his progress.

It’s suggested Brazil legend Ronaldinho played a key role in Messi’s formative years.

Messi is keen to do the same with Alena having himself benefited from an older player’s expertise.

Whether or not Messi is eyeing up management once his career is over remains to be seen.

The Argentine has always insisted he would like to play for his boyhood club – Newell’s Old Boys – before he retires.

Alena has already made two La Liga appearances this season and more are expected.

Messi, meanwhile, was sensationally slammed by Pele earlier this week.

The 78-year-old has criticised the Argentine ace for being one-footed and not being able to head the ball.

“How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right… and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill, doesn’t head the ball well?” Pele told Folha de Sao Paulo.

“How can you compare?

“To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers.”

Neymar has also taken a veiled dig at his old team-mate.

The duo used to work together at the Nou Camp but their relationship was reportedly strained.

Neymar believes a player like Messi needs to move to England to test out his skills.

“We don’t know how tomorrow will be, but I believe that every great player, at least one day, has to play in the Premier League,” Neymar said in a message for Man City star Benjamin Mendy.

“If you’re playing there, then I hope you can keep enjoying the Premier League because you deserve only the best. Hugs and thanks!”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted last month that he prefers Messi to Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

“That’s unfair again – just like [whether I want to win] the Champions League or Premier League,” Klopp told Sky Germany.

“But I would go with Lionel. Although I adore both!

“Where Messi is the light brush, Ronaldo is all about brute force and that goal against Manchester United will have had every former goalscorer, who saw it, salivating.”

Barcelona are back in La Liga action this weekend.

They face city rivals Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium.

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