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'He just wants to be one of the guys' - Inter Miami and USMNT goalkeeper Drake Callender opens up on playing with Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi Inter Miami 2023Getty Images
  • Callender spoke about teammate Messi
  • Heaped praises on the Argentine
  • Inter Miami face Toronto FC in U.S. Open Cup final

WHAT HAPPENED? Callender has hailed the World Cup-winning Argentina captain as a "great teammate" and praised his humility. He also mentioned how the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has managed to elevate the level of his colleagues by setting very high standards.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to about Messi, Callender said: "He’s a great teammate. He’s kind of shy and, you know, soft-spoken. I always have to think that this guy is coming to a whole new league, a whole new country. He’s probably trying to get settled. Everything is new for him, you know? So I just did my best to help him feel welcome. I tried not to fanboy or anything and I think we’ve developed your pretty average standard teammate relationship.

"I see his dedication to the sport and to this team. In the short time he’s been with us, he’s really bought into what we’re trying to do and he’s made some great contributions on the field and off. He just wants to be one of the guys, you know? He wants to be one of our teammates and he’s very humble and that’s something that I respect a lot. And so seeing how he operates on the training field, like the importance that he puts on training and in games, you can still see the fire in his eyes when he competes and it shows me what kind of level we need to compete at if we’re to be ambitious and want to win games."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 36-year-old has taken soccer in the U.S. by storm since he joined Inter Miami in the summer. Messi has already scored 11 goals in as many games and won his first trophy with the club in the form of the Leagues Cup.

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Drake Callender Miami 2023Getty

Messi Busquets Jordi Alba Inter Miami(C)Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR INTER MIAMI? After missing out on Inter Miami's last MLS clash against Atlanta United, Messi is set to be back in action for the club in the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday against Toronto FC.