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One-player team not a true team: Messi

Goal.com
Feb 21, 2009 at 03:31pm IST

New Delhi: Lionel Messi has told UEFA.com that any team that depends on one player are "not a true footballing team".

The Argentine was responding to claims that Barcelona depend on him for creativity and in his typical modest way, said that he is "just one member of the attack. Any team that depends on just one player can't be a true football team".

Nevertheless, Messi has been one of the brightest sparks for Barcelona this season and has helped to lift them to the top of La Primera, 10 points clear of Real Madrid.

POCKET DYNAMITE: Lionel Messi has been one of the brightest sparks for Barcelona this season.

He says that his side are fighting just as hard for domestic silverware as they are for European, and that he hopes things go well this year for them.

"I don't have any preference, or let's say that priorities will be set along the way as we progress, based on how we perform in each of these tournaments. You can't tell until the moment comes. But I will say that Barcelona will fight just as hard to win both titles, as long as we still have a chance to do so," he mused.

"I hope things go our way. Despite all the speculation and talk of our downfall that we heard last year, we still managed to get to the Champions League semi-finals. And, had we advanced as far as the final, the story would have been very different."

Certainly Barcelona's season would have been looked back on more favourably, but as it was the year was considered a disaster by most of the fans.

For Messi too it was not the greatest year, as he missed the quarter-finals of the Champions League through injury. Nevertheless, he says that he is now looking forward to the future, rather than looking back at the past.

"It was one of the saddest moments I've experienced in my career so far. I wouldn't wish it to happen to anyone. And last year I had to go through that kind of thing several times. That's the reason I reacted so badly the moment I picked up the injury to my thigh," he admitted.

"I put that behind me from the very first moment. I'm not someone who lives stuck in the past. The only important thing for me is that Barcelona have huge challenges ahead of us."

Ronaldinho

The Argentine was asked about one particular part of his past today though and that was about Ronaldinho, and his influence on the side.

Messi spoke about the effect his departure had on the team, and also about how he helped him out as a player.

"The team hasn't been affected at all. You devote yourself completely to the team or you don't – everything comes down to results. Ronaldinho gave a lot to this club, nobody can deny that. But from time to time, a cycle comes to an end. For him, last season was the end of one of those cycles. Barcelona might have lost some important players, but we have an excellent squad, one that can mount a really strong challenge on the Spanish title. And the same can be said for the Champions League," he said.

"He helped me a lot when I was starting out. As soon as I made it into the first team, he went out of his way to take care of me and helped me a lot with the day-to-day things and in my relationships with the rest of the squad. I will never forget the attention he paid to me. It is with things like that that you recognise the truly great people. On the field, he was one of the best partners I have ever had. With him, everything was easy...He is my friend, and I will never forget him. We were very close when we worked together, and as I say he has always been good to me."

With Ronaldinho gone, Messi has become the star player at Barcelona and he admits that he is ready to take on the responsibility.

"I'm ready to take on all the responsibilities the coach sees fit to trust me with. It's as simple as that. Hopefully, I can make an important contribution to the team and help take Barcelona to the top, both in the Liga and the Champions League. I just hope I am always able to help whenever my team need me," he mused.

"Barcelona are a very important part of my life. They have helped me during crucial moments, such as when they took care of my health problems. I was discovered by them, they have helped in my development and have always been very good to me. I feel at home at this club."

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