Ex-Barcelona and Spain midfielder Guillermo Amor says Lionel Messi has “pulverised all expectations” during his career at the Catalan club.

Amor was one of the first players to come through the youth ranks at La Masia and went on to coach at the Barca academy when Joan Laporta was elected as president in 2003.

It was then that he first saw a young Messi, who had arrived in Barcelona in 2000 and was starring for the junior sides before moving up to the first team in 2004-05.

“I remember the first time I saw Messi,” Amor told Goal in an exclusive interview. “I don’t remember his first game, but I remember the first training session I saw. He was something impressive at that age.

Guillermo Amor quote Messi

“We watched him train, we saw him playing and we always had the same question: will he be able to do everything he is doing now in a first-team shirt at Camp Nou?”

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Some 14 years on from their first meeting, Messi has led Barca to the greatest era in the club’s history, winning an array of trophies including eight Liga titles and four Champions League crowns. He has also won the Ballon d’Or five times.

“How he has done it!” Amor joked. “He has pulverised all expectations. What he has done in the first team is equal or even greater than what he showed us at La Masia.”

Lionel Messi Barcelona Real Madrid 2007

Messi 2007

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Amor was part of Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team and won 16 trophies in his eight seasons with Barcelona, before spells at Fiorentina, Villarreal and Livingston in the Scottish Premier League. He also won 37 caps for Spain.