Martin Braithwaite Talks 'Best Passer' Lionel Messi, Barcelona Transfer

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2020

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, Martin Braithwaite of FC Barcelona celebrates the victory  during the La Liga Santander  match between FC Barcelona v Eibar at the Camp Nou on February 22, 2020 in Barcelona Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona's new signing Martin Braithwaite has said he believes he's working with the "best passer in the world" in Lionel Messi.

The 28-year-old made a shock switch to the Camp Nou last month from Leganes, with injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele allowing the Catalan club to make an emergency acquisition.

Braithwaite was considered a surprise choice for the Blaugrana, although he made an impressive start to life at the club, helping to set up two goals in the recent 5-0 win over Eibar. He was also brought on as a substitute in the 2-0 Clasico loss to Real Madrid on Sunday.

Speaking to Javier Giraldo and Didac Peyret of Sport, Braithwaite detailed what it's like to be working with such a high calibre of player:

"I just see how the players play, look at how they do (things) naturally, it's more easy for me to adapt to them. If I do something they do naturally they don't have to change. I just have to be there where they put the ball."

When asked about how he can work with Messi, he said: "I just have to play my game. I like to make good runs and I have the best passer in the world, so for me, it's really easy."

In the win over Eibar, Braithwaite was given 18 minutes by manager Quique Setien, and he was able to build up an instant link with Messi:

After making his debut, the Dane spoke with great pride about being on the same side as the Barcelona icon:

Braithwaite has struggled to find consistency in his career since leaving Toulouse for Middlesbrough in 2017. However, after spending last season on loan at Leganes and shining, his move was made permanent in the summer.

He scored six goals in 24 appearances for the team in 2019/20, which was enough to prompt Barcelona into paying his release clause. 

Although he may not be at the standard typically expected of a Blaugrana forward, Braithwaite's dynamism and versatility will be useful for Barcelona up until the end of the campaign. Dembele is poised to miss the rest of the season, whereas Suarez is anticipated to be out until April after knee surgery.

Spanish football journalist Alvaro Romeo said Barcelona should have ensured they had more depth up top ahead of the season:

Braithwaite will be seeking to stake his claim for a regular spot in the side in the coming weeks. Having watched his side fail to take chances in the loss to Real Madrid last weekend, the Dane may even be given an opportunity from the start against Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.  

With Messi alongside him in attack, there will be no shortage of quality service for the new Barcelona forward whenever they are on the field together. It's up to the former Leganes star to seize this opportunity.

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