Tito Vilanova coached Messi when he was still playing at Cadet level, and now they are together again as seniors. “We were just kids back then!” laughed the Argentine. “He was in charge of coaching young players and helped us grow. I never thought we’d meet again in the first team, but I’m happy we have and glad that he’s going to manage Barça”.
Leo Messi is looking forward to training and playing matches again, and spoke about his first impressions on Wednesday at the Ciutat Esportiva. “I try to get better every year and help the team” he said. “Not in the number of goals, but as a player. I hope there’s still room for improvement … The main objective is titles. It gets harder every year. We said that at the start of last season, and it’s the same this time. We have to fight for every title until the end, just like we did last year”.
He hopes injuries are kind to him again this season, and that the team can win the tournaments they missed out on last term. “That would be great! We have a thorn in our sides after losing the Champions League semi final to Chelsea and being beaten by Real Madrid at the Camp Nou … But last season is now history. It’s a fresh start for us all. We have to prepare ourselves as best we can for what’ll be a tough season”.
No need for strikers
Tito said last season that he saw no need to reinforce the team’s forward line, and Messi agrees. “But that’s not for me to decide. I don’t think we need any more strikers, especially with Villa back. The most important thing for us is for him to be the same Villa that he was before the injury. He scores a lot of goals a season and we were missing him a bit last time”.
Barça FIFA Ballon d’Or
The subject of the FIFA Ballon d’Or came up again, but Messi insisted that “there’s a long time to go before they announce a winner. We don’t even know who’s nominated yet. What I do hope is that it stays in the Barça squad. And the more Barça nominees, the better”. He feels that Xavi and Iniesta “deserve the award because of all they achieved at the Euros”, but appreciates that all kinds of other factors might come into play when selecting the overall winner.
No place like home
“I was looking forward to coming back here to work. I’m not used to having so much holiday. I like training and playing”, said a typically modest Messi. “Training at home, at the Ciutat Esportiva, it’s perfect to be so close to the family.” He ended by saying that so far, everything has started as it does every season.
“I was looking forward to coming back here to work. I’m not used to having so much holiday"
We have to fight for every title until the end, just like we did last year”