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21.05.2009 18:40

Messi: “We deserve the title”

Vanessa Forns

Lionel Messi believes that Barça deserves to be crowned champion of Europe as a reward for the brilliant football they have played all season.

Speaking at the UEFA Media Open Day on Thursday in the Camp Nou, Messi told reporters that Barça deserves to win next Wednesday because of the superb football they have played all season: “We deserve the title for the football we have played all season. I’m aware that many people that don’t support Barça admire us for our football. We deserve this reward”.

Close to making history

He revealed that the players believe they are very close to making footballing history and reaffirmed his own confidence in their ability to beat the reigning European champions: “We know that we are close to making history. Even if we don’t win it will have been a great season. We have a chance both because of the players we have and the way we’ve been playing all year. We are playing spectacular football”.

“It’s the most important match of my life”

Messi didn’t play in the Paris final due to injury and that is probably why he is especially excited about next Wednesday’s match: “It’s the most important match of my life. I think that if we play the way we have done all season that we can win. I hope it’s a good match”.

Impose our football

21-05-09_WEB_MESSI_01.jpgOne of the keys to beating Manchester United, according to Messi, will be to impose the Barça style: “The main thing is that we are capable of playing our own game, that is to have possession of the ball and create chances. It doesn’t matter who scores the goals. In a final there are no favourites. We’re talking about two great teams, with great players. They’re defending the title. If I have to choose one it has to be them”.

Dangers posed by Manchester

Messi believes that Manchester United will be a very different proposition from Premier League rivals Chelsea: “They won’t play the way Chelsea did against us in the semi-finals. Manchester United play in a similar way to us and know how to defend when necessary and play on the break. They’ve also got a great forward line. I hope it’s an open final for the good of football and so that people can enjoy it”.

He singled out Cristiano Ronaldo as the main threat: “Everyone knows him. He’s a great player and if you give him room he takes advantage of it to perfection. He scores a lot of goals”.

Confidence in the squad

Apart from Abidal, Alves and Márquez, who will all miss the final due to injury or suspension, there are still doubts surrounding whether Iniesta and Henry will be fit in time. Although he is fully aware of the importance of these players, Messi told us: “We have a great squad and whoever plays is well prepared to do so”.

Fully focussed on Barça

Finally, Messi made it very clear that he is 100% focussed on the final and is completely indifferent to media gossip coming out of Madrid: “I’ve already said many times that I’m very happy here. I don’t attach much importance to what’s being said. We have to focus on ourselves. We have too important a match coming up to be looking elsewhere”.
Messi: “We deserve the title”

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Guardiola’ contribution
At the press conference after the Mallorca game, the first since Barça was mathematically proclaimed league champion, Guardiola gave all the credit to the players. Today Messi wanted to pay back the compliment: “Guardiola has had a lot to do with the progress of the team. The work he has done, the things he knows and which he’s transmitted to us over the year, the way he’s motivated us, have been fundamental in achieving success”.

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