The world’s best soccer player has a man-crush on the world’s best basketball player.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, told Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl on Wednesday that when he arrives stateside for this summer’s Copa América, he has two primary objectives: win the tournament for Argentina, and meet Stephen Curry.
Luckily for Messi, Argentina’s opening game of the tournament (against Chile on June 6) will be just down the road from Oracle Arena, in Santa Clara.
“Soccer will be the main focus while I’m in the Bay Area, naturally, but part of me is also hoping to meet Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors,” Messi said. “Seeing him play is magical. Everyone loves what he does: basketball fans, teammates, rivals.”
It’s not hard to understand Messi’s fondness for the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP. Countless comparisons have been made between the Warriors’ three-point machine and Barcelona’s left-footed goal-scorer. Indeed, Messi himself sees similarities between their games.
“Our small sizes, and even our playing styles, are similar. In December he sent me his signed Warriors jersey. I sent back my signed shirt in April to return the favor,” Messi added.
Muchas gracias al fenómeno @stephencurry30 por mandarme su camiseta firmada con el número 30 para felicitarme por los 30 millones en Insta. ¡ cuando llegues a 10 millones te mando la mía! 😜👍🏻 // Thanks so much to the great Stephen Curry for sending me a signed jersey to congratulate me for reaching 30 million followers on Instagram. As soon as you get 10M I’ll send you mine! 😜👍🏻
A photo posted by Leo Messi (@leomessi) on Dec 4, 2015 at 7:02am PST on Dec 4, 2015 at 7:02am PST
Messi also said that his almost telepathic relationship with the soccer ball is similar to what he sees when he watches Curry.
“If you watch Curry play — or, just as revealing, warm up before the game — you notice his relationship with the ball. It’s like his body and mind are always on the same wavelength with el balón,” said Messi. “I try to have that connection in my sport too.”
At the moment, Curry does not appear to be on quite the same wavelength as the basketball. His Warriors find themselves down 3-1 to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, and Curry has struggled. Perhaps a phone call from his pal Lionel might help him regain his form.