In an interview with SportsCenter’s Mauricio Pedroza, Kobe Bryant talked about why he identifies so closely with Lionel Messi. (Which makes sense –they’re obsessively passionate about their respective sports, and their unparalleled love of the game most likely plays into their being good friends in real life as well.)

“We’re the same, Messi and I,” said Bryant, a massive FC Barcelona fan himself.

Apparently, when Barça visited LA a while back, Ronaldinho – a friend of Kobe’s – said “Mira Kobe, I’m going to introduce you to the guy who’s about to become the GOAT.”

And look at them now!

Kobe went on to say: “As people, in the way that we speak, we are different – he’s a very reserved person – but we are the same in the love that we feel for our sports.”

“In talent?” asked Pedroza.

“In talent as well,” the Lakers legend replied.

The interview is pretty great, because aside from hearing about his friendship with Ronaldinho and association with Messi, Kobe gets to show off his strong español skills (he practices daily with his wife, whose family is Mexican).

You can watch a clip of the interview below, and read the ESPN piece here.