The centre-back has claimed that the Argentine forward needed time to settle in after joining the Blaugrana from Newell's Old Boys at the age of 13Gerard Pique has revealed that Lionel Messi initially struggled to adapt to his new surrroundings after joining Barcelona as a youngster.
The Argentina international left Newell's Old Boys for Barcelona at the age of 13 and Pique explained how the adaptation process was a gradual one for the 26-year-old during his early years in Spain.
"I remember that during the first few months Leo didn’t fit in that well. He sat on his own in the dressing room," the defender told Jot Down.
"The rest of the team, we’d all known each other for ages and he’d just arrived, not just from another country, but from another continent.
"He hardly spoke, he was very shy and it took him time. I guess he needed space."
Pique then added that even in his younger years Messi was already in a league of his own as his team-mates couldn't catch him in training.
"It’s not been made up that he was already special back then. He had a special talent.
"I remember Rodolf Borrell, our coach - and I always tell this story because some things stay with you - he asked us not to hurt him. But we couldn’t get close. Even if we wanted to we couldn’t catch him.
"And he was tiny. I was miles taller than him, he was very small, but he was brutally talented. He moved so well, he dribbled round you so easily."
Messi has made over 300 goals in official games for Barcelona since making his first-team debut in 2004-05.