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Lionel Messi: 'I can feel the trophies and how close we are to them'

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

For the first time in forever, Lionel Messi spoke to the media before a Champions League match. As expected, the media room was full and everyone wanted to talk to the world's greatest footballer about his encounter with his friend and former coach, Pep Guardiola, when Barcelona and Bayern Munich meet at Camp Nou in the first leg of the European Cup semifinals.

But there's a catch: Messi kinda sorta maybe doesn't care about Guardiola that much anymore, especially now that Pep is at the other side.

For Leo, the return of the winningest coach in club history is cool as a story line and a tribute video and a round of applause from the fans and all that fine stuff, but the thing that matters on Wednesday is the actual game. Crazy, right? Messi wants to come back to the UCL final, and he is aware of how difficult the match is.

And obviously, Messi was asked about his relationship with his current Blaugrana manager, Luis Enrique, especially because of the little kerfuffle they had a few months ago, which led to #TheCrisis and reports that the two hated each other. NEWSFLASH: It's a lie.

Check out the highlights of Leo's pre-match presser:


"I haven't had contact with him at all since he left. We met once at a FIFA gala, but it was a quick conversation. But my relationship with him was great when he was here, just like it was with everybody else. But what motivates us is the match, not him. Last year we couldn't reach the final and now we want to play it.

"Guardiola spent a lot of time with us, and we did a lot of important things together. We were lucky enough to win a lot of titles, and he knows everyone well, not just me. He is a coach that knows everything and doesn't leave anything to fate.

"It will be normal if the people honor him because of everything Pep means as a coach, everything he won, how much he gave to this club. But once the game starts, I'm pretty sure the fans will want us to win it."

The home stretch of the season and the Bayern tie

"This will be different from 2013, and the injuries shouldn't be an excuse for Bayern, just like injuries weren't an excuse for us back then.

"I'm really excited about our current form and the way we play every match, and how calm we are about everything. We are taking it step by step, thinking about the next game, never thinking further than that. It will all be over soon, we are really close and we are eager to play and to win these final games.

"There are no favorites here. And we should not think that the winner here will win the Berlin final. This is a difficult enough tie to prepare for, we should think about lifting the Cup and the final later."

Luis Enrique

"Right now everything is past. There are no problems. We have a good relationship, just like my teammates have. I don't compare him with [Guardiola], every coach is different, has his own way, asks you different things. But personally, both try to have a close relationship with every player, and they make sure everyone is happy and doing well.


"The coach has given us three up front the freedom to move however we want. We have to cover a certain position, but after that I have the freedom to play out wide or more in the middle to be one more midfielder if we need to keep possession of the ball. It all depends on each match and what fits our plan the best in any given game."

Neymar and Luis Suárez

"Ney and Luis are two of the best in the world and they make things so much easier for me. We have a great relationship on and off the pitch, I've had it with Ney since last year and now with Suárez, who has adapted to the group really quickly. He is an impressive person and he made everything easy for all of us."

This season’s personal form

"It was a difficult season for me last year, for everything that happened on and off the pitch. I was injured and I didn’t get back up to top speed as I’d wanted. This year is completely different and I feel really good".

"I consider myself just another player in the team. We all want the same success and we are all equal".

This is a special moment. I can feel all the titles and how close we are to them. We are really lucky to be in the position to contend for all of them.

Source: Sport

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