EXCLUSIVE: Messi's favourite insect a monkey

He may be the natural heir to Diego Maradona and, according to GQ magazine, the 17th coolest man on the planet (Prince Harry is number one), but Lionel Messi’s nature knowledge leaves a bit to be desired.

One of 32 World Cup stars speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo in the new issue – out now – Argentina’s great hope explains his nickname ‘The Flea’ and answers many readers’ burning question: what is his favourite insect?

“A monkey,” says Messi. “Monkeys have always been my favourite. They are cheeky!”

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As cheeky and impish himself as his favourite non-insect, Messi admits any team needs “a bit of luck” to win the World Cup.

“In 2006, I thought Argentina were the best team,” he says, “but we lost on penalties to Germany. And some years before, England lost on penalties to Argentina. That’s why you need a bit of luck!”

The Barcelona front-man also recognises the rich history of Argentinian forwards before him – not least the current national coach, the ever-controversial Diego Maradona.

“Maradona did a lot for the Argentina shirt,” claims Messi, who will be wearing Maradona’s famous number 10. “I’m proud to wear it. It has something special about it.

“And I know Argentina will never has as good a centre-forward as Gabriel Batistuta again.”

He may choose to play down his own role in Argentina’s footballing history, but Messi is not quite so modest about his keepy-uppies. Asked how many times he can keep the ball up, Messi replies, “I’m not sure. A lot.”

The full interview with Lionel Messi, and 31 other World Cup stars including Kaka, David Villa and Steven Gerrard, is in the July issue of FourFourTwo, out now.

EXCLUSIVE: Villa - England capable of reaching final EXCLUSIVE: Kaka - Talent isn't enough EXCLUSIVE: Gerrard - This World Cup may be my last EXCLUSIVE: De Rossi - Capello can lead England to glory

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