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"Being in the Champions League gives us strength for season"

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16.03.2011 12:05

Messi: "Being in the Champions League gives us strength for the rest of the season"

Sandra Sarmiento

Leo Messi says the team are full of confidence coming into the final stretch of the season, and beating Arsenal in the Champions League last 16 has given them "strength for what is left."

Messi: “Being in the Champions League gives us strength for the rest of the season“

Humility, work rate, speed, genius, magic and love of football. All this and much more make up Leo Messi. He’s a leader, on and off the pitch. Background noise doesn’t affect him. Quite the contrary, it serves as a stimulus. He’s 2 goals away from matching his scoring record and nobody doubts that he’ll beat it. In a conversation with Barça TV and he explains how he and the team view the most crucial stretch of the season.

This year you’re scoring more goals than ever. You’re on course to beat your personal best. The bar is very high. Do you think you can maintain this level longer?
"I don’t know what will happen in a few years. I’ll try to maintain the same level, and am first to be interested in doing things right. One day this will end and I won’t score 46 or 47 goals, but I’ll always try to give my best”.

Does the fact that you’re playing up front with Pedro and Villa, players with so much mobility, help?
"Having them by my side, and the other players behind us as well. In short, having the team that we have is what helps me. We all make each other better. It’s the best thing about this team. Everybody knows their role and we all complement each other. That’s why the game seems so easy”.

2010-09-24_ENTRENO_11.JPGThere’s no way to get you to rest. Pep asks you but gets nowhere. Wouldn’t it be good for you to rest for the odd game?
"I feel good and I don’t like to miss games. I hate watching the games either from the bench or from the stands. If I’m fit to play, I want to play, and hope to play every game I can".

Keeping the 5 point lead over Real Madrid until you play them in the Bernabéu will be key to winning the league?
"I don’t know if it’s key, but it’s a lot different to have the 5 point lead when we play them than not to have it. 5 points are an important lead that is reassuring. In the match In Madrid, they’ll need to go for us to beat us, and we can play on that. A 5 point lead is pretty reassuring”.

Do the serious insinuations of late, everything talked about the team, make you stronger for the final run-in?
"Yes, that’s it. We're above all this. We don’t pay any attention to what is said and discussed. We get on with our work, to carry on in the same way. I don’t know for what purpose these things are said, but we won’t get involved and we’ll just focus on playing”.

2011-03-15_ENTREVISTA_LEO_MESSI_009.jpgThe draw for the Champions is on Friday. "Getting through the last round can be a turning point for the team?
"It's important to be in the Champions League. We came through a very complicated tie against Arsenal and it gives us great strength for what’s to come”.

For the football, the type of game the team plays, is Barça the favorite for the Champions League?
"Ourselves, Madrid, and Chelsea are favorites for this years Champions League."

Some people felt that you scored your best goal against Arsenal. Getafe at home on Saturday. Do you still think that was the best goal you have scored?
"For me, yes. If we look at it as the sweetest or most difficult, for me the best one was the one against Getafe."

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