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PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Messi hasn't scored in 3 games. Viktoria Pilsen, Sevilla, and Granada have escaped without conceding a Messi goal, which has led to the first arguments about his form. For Cesc, there's no debate: "I haven't heard any arguments. He's my age. If you see the progress he's made, I don't think I'll ever see it again. He's won everything, except the World Cup. He scores goals every game, makes them, always plays... he's a fabulous player, physically and mentally. If there are doubts about Messi, I don't know how they see the rest of us. I've never played with a player like him, either at youth level or professionally. He's humble, never hides, always gives everything for the team, and loves the Club. There's nothing more to say" he added.

Bet on another Golden Ball for Messi

On the same lines, when asked about the Golden Ball trophy, he said: "50 of us have been nominated for this award. Nobody will remember the 5th to the 50th. I'd put my hand in the fire that Messi will win it. It has a special meaning for him, but the next day he'll want to score more goals and that's the most important thing" he said. Regarding his own presence on the list, and the absence of Pedro, Valdés, or Busquets, Cesc said that "it's a pretty strange list. How can I be on it, when I didn't play for practically the whole of last season?"

Self criticism after the match at Granada

Regarding the game at Granada (0-1 win), in which he started after his injury, he recognised that it wasn't Barça's best game. "The movement of the ball was too slow, we didn't change the direction of play enough, we had too many players down the right, and we didn't have as much ball possession as usual, but we did control the whole match" he stressed, whilst praising Barca's current defensive form.

On his own performance, he acknowledged that he's still recovering his best form, and feels more comfortable playing in attack than deeper in midfield. "I can play in both positions. As a midfielder I have to improve a lot of things. Tactically I have plenty of room for improvement" he said.

Kanoute, case closed

One of the topics of most interest in the press conference was the controversy that arose with Frederic Kanoute at the end of the match against Sevilla, which ended with Kanoute being sent off. "I've always been calm about it. I know what I said to him. Whoever leaked the story that I used racist words has got what they wanted, because it's been published worldwide. I spoke with Kanoute and we said what we had to say. I'm not a saint, just like any football player, but I didn't say anything racist, and nobody is denying that. We all know how football works," he said.

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