Football

Barca on course for treble, says Messi

Argentinian superstar credits coach Valverde for turning things around

Barcelona are heading towards another treble, superstar Lionel Messi said, promising fans the La Liga leaders would go all out to win everything.

Chelsea await Barca in the Champions League last-16 next month, they’re unbeaten in the league and lead nearest challengers Atletico Madrid by 11 points, and the Catalan club face Valencia in the Copa del Rey semi-finals next week after overcoming a 1-0 first-leg deficit to beat local rivals Espanyol 2-1 on aggregate on Friday.

“The objective is the same every season, try to win everything,” the 30-year-old Argentinian said ahead of their league game against Alaves on Sunday.

Barca are the only club to have won the continental treble twice, in 2009 with Pep Guardiola and in 2015 under Luis Enrique, and Messi is aiming for a hat-trick of trebles for both him and the club this season.

“I’ve said it many times that my personal objective is to help the team win titles. We hope to finish this season in the best way possible and it’s going very well so far,” said five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.

“There’s still a lot of football to play but luckily things are panning out well and we came back well against Espanyol.”

Messi said the club’s coach Ernesto Valverde, who took over in the last close season should be given credit for the upswing in results after a disappointing final season under Enrique that was compounded by Real Madrid winning the league and the Champions League.

“The new coach was very clear in telling us what he wanted, which was rather similar to what we did before really,” said Messi.

“But things have tightened up at the back and we have the forwards to do the damage." – AFP

Lionel messibarcelona