Leo Messi spoke to the press after yesterday’s training session at the Camp Nou:

We play in the same way regardless of what particular players are on the pitch, because Barça’s style of play is very collective, rather than based on individual efforts. This makes winning easier

I don’t believe Barça has “Messi-dependence”. We are a team and each of us plays his part in winning games. I think I am well considered in the dressing room and on the pitch, but in the end I’m just like the other players

Kun Agüero and I get along very well, and we enjoy playing together. We’re good friends, but obviously each of us would like his own team to win this Saturday. The debate over which of us is the better player just doesn’t interest me

Lionel Messi and the rest of the FC Barcelona roster are currently in Saint Andrews (Scotland), where they are carrying out the first stage of the pre-season work under new coach Pep Guardiola.

There has been much talk over the past few days regarding Leo’s presence in the Argentinian national team for the Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing next month. The player has been called up for the games by AFA (Association of Argentinian Football), but FC Barcelona want Messi to stay with the club in order for him to be able to play in the Champions League’s qualification round. At this point, Argentina’s olympic squad is already in Beijing preparing for the tournament, while Leo is doing the pre-season with Barça, but there has been no conclusive statement from any of the parts on how the conflict is eventually going to be solved.

According to information by Spanish sports paper Diario As, FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi have reached an agreement that will improve the conditions of the Argentinian forward’s contract with the Catalan club. The new deal will still run until June 30th 2014, and sets a 150 million euros buy-out clause. As for the economic conditions of the contract, the player will from now on receive an 8 million euros yearly salary plus a maximum of 4.5 million in bonuses, which will depend on the team’s and Leo’s own performance.

In addition, the Argentinian olympic football team’s head coach Sergio Batista spoke about the role he wants Messi to play in his side in Beijing: “I want Leo to move freely along the width of the attacking line. He will not play on the right wing, in the way he does with Barcelona”.

Lionel Messi turns 21 today.

Unlike what happened in the past few years, this time Leo is not on international duty with Argentina and will surely take the chance to celebrate this special date with his family and friends.

Happy birthday, Lionel!

Lionel Messi spoke about FC Barcelona with Spanish paper Diario Sport. Here is some of what the player -currently in Buenos Aires preparing for next Sunday’s World Cup qualifying game against Ecuador- said in this interview:

I am an optimistic person. I am confident that things will be better in the future. We have what it takes to be strong again next year

We didn’t win the trophies because we lacked consistency. The team will learn from its mistakes. We believe in ourselves and know what we are capable of

Pep Guardiola knows what Barça is and what it means as an institution. He won many trophies with the club as a player; let’s hope he can do the same now as a coach. People have high expectations on him, and that is something I like. We all must expect the best in every new season and work together to achieve it

It’s up to FC Barcelona and the AFA (Argentinian Football Association) to make a consensual decision on whether or not I will play the Olympics

Lionel Messi arrived in Buenos Aires yesterday to join the Argentina national squad preparing for the two upcoming 2010 World Cup qualifying games against Ecuador and Brazil.

Leo spoke to the press at the airport, reasserting his desire to play both the Olympic Games in Beijing and the Champions League qualifying round with Barça in August:

I would love to be in both places, and I hope there will be no problems. I would like to represent my country in the Olympics and also help my club. I want the best for the two sides

The Argentine forward hopes his country’s recent bad streak against the Brazilians -including the defeat in the 2007 Copa América final- will be broken:

It’s about time for Argentina to beat Brazil

Finally, Messi had some words about the situation at FC Barcelona:

We have reached the end of a cycle at Barça, but the club has already signed a couple of new players and I think the prospects for next season are very good

After it was confirmed that Frank Rijkaard will leave FC Barcelona at the end of the current season and Pep Guardiola will take over, Lionel Messi had some words for the Dutch coach, who brought him into the club’s senior squad:

I’m very grateful to Frank Rijkaard. He has done a great job at Barça. The problems we’ve had clearly weren’t all his fault. The fans gave him the farewell he deserved yesterday at the Camp Nou

Messi also reflected on Barça’s disappointing performance this season:

It hasn’t been a good year for us; we aimed to contend for all the trophies and we couldn’t get any of them in the end. After two trophyless seasons in a row, we are obviously affected

The Argentine forward commented on the recent rumours regarding Chelsea’s interest in signing him:

I’m very happy at Barcelona. If there is any truth to all those speculations, all I can say is I am grateful and proud to know that a big club like Chelsea may be interested in me

Finally, Lionel confirmed that he will be playing for Argentina in the Olympic Games this summer:

I have talked to Barcelona and everything has been settled, I will be in Beijing to play the Olympics

Lionel Messi spoke to the press following Barcelona’s exit from the Champions League last Tuesday at Old Trafford:

We did everything we could, we gave all we had on the pitch, but things just did not turn out right for us. Now we must fight to reach the second spot on the domestic league in order to qualify directly to next year’s Champions League. We must keep our standards high and finish the league properly.

I’m not going to leave Barcelona. I don’t know what other team-mates will do, but I want to stay at the club.

We have been knocked out of a competition that holds the best teams. We couldn’t score the goal we needed in the end, but we played better than the opponents did. We held our heads up high.

Leo Messi discussed several topics as he talked to the press yesterday:


Every player in the Barcelona team wants Ronnie to stay. It will be a pity if he goes. He was really helpful to me when I joined the squad. Every team in the world would like to have him, but I still have hope that he’ll stay with us.

-The upcoming UEFA Champions League semifinal:

Missing out on the final stages of our run for the Champions League title in 2006 was hard to take for me. That is why I can’t wait to play this year’s semifinal against Manchester United and, hopefully, the final.

-Saturday’s league clash with Espanyol:

Things have gotten really difficult for us as far as the league title is concerned. But a derby is always a derby, besides we still remember what happened in last year’s game against Espanyol. Personally, it will also do me good to have some more play time ahead of next Wednesday’s Champions League game.

Following a three-week stay in his home country, Lionel Messi finally arrived back in Barcelona on Thursday. The Argentinian forward, who is in the process of recovering from a hamstring tear, was submitted to medical tests by the FC Barcelona doctors on Friday morning in order to assess the state of the injured area. After the tests and some physical work in La Masía fields supervised by Barça trainer Juanjo Brau, Lionel gave a press conference. Here is some of what he said:

I’ve been doing some good recovery work, and I’m feeling fine. I will now wait for the doctors to give me the all clear so that I can return to play. But I don’t feel any pressure about coming back soon. I just want to help the team

I expect to be ready to play the Champions League semifinals, if we reach that stage

Barça doctors have confirmed that Messi’s recovery has progressed according to plan during his stay in Argentina, and the player is now ready to take the final steps towards full fitness. No specific date has been set yet for Leo’s return to play.

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