Joe Hart joins Tottenham: Lionel Messi once hailed the goalkeeper as ‘phenomenal’


Joe Hart is hoping to get his topsy-turvy career back on track after completing a surprise move to Tottenham on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old has been snapped up by Jose Mourinho following his departure from Burnley at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

Hart will now compete with Paulo Gazzaniga for Hugo Lloris’s No. 1 jersey next season.

“Firstly, I just want to say thank you to the club for seeing something in me,” he told Spurs’ official website. “No getting away from it, it’s been a difficult couple of years for me personally on the football field, but I feel I’ve got so much to give, I feel like I’ve got a lot of quality, a lot in the bank, but not much game time recently.

“I can only look at things positively. I’m ready to go. I feel like I’m starting again, and I quite enjoy that feeling. My body is certainly ready for me to start again. I’m ready to push and ready to get back to levels. I love the idea of European football, two games a week... it all excites me.”

Asked how he has dealt with the past couple of seasons, Hart added: “They’ve been a process, something I’ve certainly not had to get used to, because I didn’t want to ever get used to it, but I’ve lived it, I’ve worked hard, kept the same standards I’ve kept throughout my career, right from Shrewsbury Town.

“I’ve tried to grow as a person, tried to grow as a player, tried to use my time, tried to look at it differently... if I’m not playing on the pitch, what can I get out of myself off the pitch? I still feel like exactly the same player, and I still feel like I’ve got more to give.

“You can’t help but get excited at this club. Off the field, doing everything right, tremendous training ground, one of the world’s greatest stadiums, some of the best players you can get in football. I think we can work together as a team and work together as a unit and the sky’s the limit, it has to be.”

While Spurs’ decision to hand Hart a contract has raised eyebrows, it’s important to remember that the former England No. 1 was widely regarded as a top ‘keeper not that long ago.

And back in March 2015, he earned huge praise from arguably the greatest footballer of all time: Lionel Messi.

Hart produced a magnificent performance while playing for Manchester City against Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Champions League knockout stages, saving 10 shots - mostly from Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

You can watch his saves from that game here…

What a performance.

Barcelona still managed to win the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Ivan Rakitic but Hart was hailed by the opposition following his Man of the Match display.

Messi, per Sky Sports, said: “He was phenomenal, he stopped everything. We have to congratulate him on a great game because he's a fantastic goalkeeper."

Andres Iniesta added: "Hart was key to keeping them in it and was great in one-on-one situations. He was outstanding.”


And Barça head coach Luis Enrique said: “The score could have been a rout but Hart was incredible and we weren't really on towards the end.

"We had a lot of chances, which is not normal in this type of game. We deserved to win by a bigger goal difference.”

When you’re singled out for praise from Messi, Iniesta and Enrique, you know you’ve played a blinder.

If Hart can rediscover some of the form and confidence that led to this goalkeeping masterclass, then Mourinho’s gamble will have paid off.

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