Barcelona are back on form, and their dynamic Brazilian full-back believes that Messi deserves much of the credit.

2009 FIFA Confederations Cup: Daniel Alves, Brazil v South Africa (PA)

Daniel Alves believes that Lionel Messi should complete a clean sweep of player of the year awards after a impressive 12 months with Barcelona.

The Brazilian believes that his team-mate is the best in the world. Messi helped the Blaugrana to win a unique treble last term and continued to grow in stature.

This season has seen no change in the young Argentine. He has returned to form for Barca and on Tuesday night shone once more, with two goals and an assist against Racing Santander.

“To be the best in the world, you have to be different, and Messi is in every match. We’re hoping he wins all the awards as best player,” Alves was quoted as saying by the club’s official website.

Alves believes that as well as Messi returning to form, the team is also beginning to play like they did at their height last term.

“We’re rediscovering the tone that perhaps we lacked at the beginning. We are improving all the time, which is our aim,” he continued.

“We moved the ball more and created more chances, as well as scoring goals, which is the most important [thing]. The guys up front played very well.”

                                    

The Argentine is happy with how the Blaugrana played against Racing…

Barcelona brushed Racing Santander aside at El Sardinero last night, with Lionel Messi bagging two goals either side of half time in the 4-1 victory.

The 22-year-old, who recently signed a new deal with the club, is very happy with how things are going, but denied claims that teams were rolling over for the Blaugrana.

“We have to work every game and no one is giving us anything,” he told Sport.

“From the kick off, we go out to win the match by playing our game right until the end. This is our mentality.

“Last night the team played a great game by having the calmness of keeping the ball at all times and playing at pace. There are always things to improve on – yesterday we did better compared to how we played against Atletico Madrid.

“We had the order that we lost against Atletico, and we had the ball. In the second half against Atletico, we allowed them to have a bit more of the ball and did not pressure them as we did in the first half, but last night we recovered our usual style.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also among the goalscorers last night, and Messi believes there will be more to come from the Swede when he finds himself on the same wavelength as the rest of the team.

“We are still getting to know ‘Ibra’, even though adapting is easy because of the quality he has. I have to know his movements and vice versa. Little by little, we will understand each other better.”

Argentina may not be performing up to their usual lofty standards, but the midfielder does not want one player singled out for blame…

Juan Sebastian Veron – Argentina

Juan Sebastian Veron has leapt to the defence of his international team-mate Lionel Messi after the Barcelona star was accused of not playing as well for Argentina as he does for his club.

The Albiceleste have it all to do in order to qualify for the World Cup Finals after losing their two recent qualifiers and questions have been asked about why they are faltering.

Along with coach Diego Maradona, Messi has come under the spotlight with some accusing him of not putting in the same type of performances that he does for Barca.

“Messi cannot do everything,” the former Manchester United and Chelsea playmaker said.

“Barca play in a different way, with lost of quick passes.

“There are players that are not at the same level as him in the national team.

“There are a lot of great players though, but the coach has yet to find the winning team.”

Lionel Messi is still confident he will be the best player in Spain even after Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka joining Real Madrid

Lionel Messi is still confident he will be the best player in Spain even after Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka joining Real Madrid

Lionel Messi has echoed his Barcelona team-mates’ sentiments, boldly proclaiming that he is not afraid of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Reala Madrid. Almost the entire Blaugrana squad have so far shown that they are not all impressed by the near quarter-of-a-billion euros spent by Los Blancos to resurrect the Galacticos empire, and Messi was equally as non-chalant when asked about his rivals’ exorbitant outlay.
“I am with Barcelona and i worry only about my team.” Sport quoted him saying to reporters in Los Angeles, after a friendly game he was supposed to participate in between CONMEBOL Stars and the Rest of the world was cancelled by FIFA.
“We were spectacular last season and we hope that this term, we will be able to do the same, or at least repeat a little of what we achieved,” he added. Despite already having a star-studded team, Messi affirmed that he wouldn’t mind the club bringing in a few high-profile signings of their own to beef up the squad.
“We are suprised by what we did last season but if players such as those that have been mentioned in the press arrive at the club to stregthen the team, it would be even better because it is important to be stronger.” he confessed.
“I hope (Javier) Mascherano can come and we can form a solid partnership. His qualities are always appreciated. The same goes for (Cesc) Fabregas. A good footballer like him who can contribute a lot is always welcome”.
Finally, the 22-year-old Argentine wizard looked forward to a tantalising showdown in the future between himself and Ronaldo, as well the battle of the No.8′s, Andres Iniesta and Kaka.
“I can say without a doubt that Barcelona is the best team in the world,” he boomed. “We have great players and that’s why we won the treble.
“Kaka has a lot of quality, but he will have to adapt himself. I can also talk about Iniesta. Training with him is the best.
“But both Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka are fantastic players who will give Madrid a lot of strength. ‘El Classico’ is going to be unbelievable when it comes time to play, and yes- Barcelona will win again.”

Lionel Messi Overtakes 'Overpriced' Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi Overtakes 'Overpriced' Cristiano Ronaldo

A recent study has shown that Lionel Messi has overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo as the the highest – profile player in the world in terms of media value, a ranking that could go a long way to secure him the coveted Ballon d’Or at the end of the year, an award handed out by a panel of journalists.

According to the Faculty of Economics, Sports and Intangibles (ESI) at the university of Navarra, their research found that Messi was the most popular and most talked about player in the media throughout last season, and his goal in the final of the Champions League for Barcelona was the catalyst that pushed him past ‘CR7′.

Ronaldo, who became the most expensive player in the history of the game when his move to Real Madrid was officially completed, was also deemed the costliest player in the study, although the researchers only valued him at €82 million, a full €12 million less than what Los Blancos will be req

uired to pay to Manchester United. Messi, meanwhile, who turned 22 recently, was valued at €80 million, with Liverpool Fernando Torres coming in third at €67 million.

In the team rankings, however, United and Barcelona are tied at top spot in the study, but Sir Alex Ferguson remains the most influential manager, ahead of Pep Guardiola.

Lionel Messi has finished runner-up to Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2008 Ballon d’Or votings. The predictions finally came true and Ronaldo’s outstanding performances of last season -in which he won both the UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League with Manchester United- have awarded him this prestigious prize.

The votes from France Football magazine correspondents all over the world gave Cristiano the first spot -succeeding Kaká, the 2007 winner- with 446 points. Leo Messi got 281 points, while Spanish striker Fernando Torres obtained 179 points to finish third.

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