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Please correct me if here have been posted before... I will use here only about Interview.


Exclusive interview with Leo Messi
''The next Diego Maradona''

From promise to star

Lionel Messi made his first team debut in the 2003-4 season against Porto, then managed by Jose Mourinho and the following season, on May 1st 2005 he made his mark at the Nou Camp with a goal against Albacete which made the then 17-year-old the youngest player ever to score for the club in the league. He really caught the eye in Europe when he started the Joan Gamper Trophy against Juventus and won plaudits both from his own manager and the Italian club's Fabi Capello.

Messi took another big step in his career with his performance against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu earlier this season, when he showed that he was certainly not afraid of the big stage and put in a marvellous magic game together with Ronaldinho and Eto'o to destroy the old enemy. Wednesdays game against Chelsea, applauded throughout the footballing world was just the latest success in a career that seems destined for many, many more.

Leo Messi is not letting the praise heaped on him from the football world after his midweek performance go to his head. He may be being hailed as the next great thing, but the youngster is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

In this exclusive interview with fcbarcelona.com, the hero of Stamford Bridge makes it clear that he's very much aware that he's "still achieved nothing" and that the secret to more success is "to keep on working hard".

What's your view on the Zaragoza result?

"It was a tough game against an opponent who were well organised on the pitch, but finally our hard work earned us an important win at a difficult ground, that gives us three more points in the push for the league and keeps the chasing teams at a distance".

The team seems to have recovered its good form again.

"Yes, after a couple of slip ups, we're back in the driving seat again".

Have you had time to reflect on the Chelsea game and your performance?

"Well I always try and stay calm about these things, but I'm certainly pleased with how things went, both for me and for the team as a whole. It was a good result and Im happy with all the praise we got, but I'm keeping cool and just continuing to work hard".

Is it hard to keep you feet on the ground after you've been so widely praised for your performance ? How do you keep things in context ?

"Well of course it's nice to be spoken about so well and it makes you feel good, but I think that I've yet to achieve anything in the game, and the team too, we've not won anything with just that one result. The only thing you have to do is keep on working hard - there's a lot of league games left and the second leg with Chelsea. Nothing's decided yet".

Was the Chelsea game your best so far ?

"Yes, definitely my best. It was one of the most important too because of who we were playing, just like the Madrid game. They are two big names and they are important games to play in".

You were kicked about a bit a Stamford Bridge. Does it bother you that Mourinho accused you of play-acting ?

"No, not really. The truth is I didn't listen to what he said because I know I wasn't acting. My team mates know that too. I've still got the bruises. I felt the tackle and I know I wasn't putting anything on. I'm not a diver. If he saw it differently well they're two different ways of seeing it".

You are two teams with different styles, you and Chelsea. How did you see the game as a whole ?

"Maybe in the first half we played too much at their game. The pitch was very heavy and that made it a tough game and a bit scrappy, which suited more their style of play. In the second half we started to get more ball and play to feet and although the pitch was poor , we started to feel more comfortable and create chances".

The tie isn't decided yet, as you said. Do you think Chelsea might represent an even bigger threat away from home ?

"We have to be on our guard. We know what happened last year when we won the first leg 2-1 here at the Nou Camp. Chelsea have players who can score at any time and we have to bear in mind that we're not through yet. Even so, we're playing well and we all want to make the next round".

It looks as if their more mental strength this year and the team are determined to get through this time round.

"We don't want a repeat of last year, that's for certain. We don't want to go out at this stage and are determined to progress to the quarter finals".

It seems to be harder than ever to win the double here in Spain and the last time a team won two successive league was in the Van Gaal era with Barca. Winning league and Champions League also seems to be pretty rare. Do you think the era of a single team dominating the scene is over ?

"It looks like that. When we started the season we were after all three trophies and it was a tough break to get knocked out of the cup. We're still on course in the league though and with a win against Chelsea we must be in with a shout for the Champions League too".

Have you started to think about the World Cup yet ?

"No, not yet. There's still a while to go.We have an important few months ahead of us before that comes around and although the Argentina game this week makes you realise that the World Cup is coming up, I'm concentrating on the big league and Champions League games ahead".

So when do you begin to focus on Germany ?

"When we've won everything here at Barca !"
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