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Lionel Messi raises his arms in celebration following FC Barcelona's 2–0 victory in the Copa del Rey final on Sunday in Madrid. / VICTOR SALGADO - FCB

“I have always had the same way of playing, wanting to go for goal no matter what and if I can continue, I do.” Those are the words of Leo Messi and they are a perfect definition of what he has done and continues to do at FC Barcelona. Just one thing on his mind, irrespective of who he is up against, his innate brilliance nearly always allows him to achieve his goal. The Argentine superstar is the focus of a feature which delves into his more personal side in the prestigious American magazine 'Sports Illustrated’.

On his beginnings, Messi says he came to FC Barcelona “with great excitement and the goal of reaching the First Division and to do that I trained dedicatedly every day, focusing completely on my goal.” However, it was not always an easy path to take.

“It was nice because I came to play at Barça, but on the other hand it was difficult because I was leaving everything behind, my friends, part of my family, my childhood…, coming to a new country and starting from zero.”

Fortunately, all turned out well for the boy from Rosario: “I grew up in Barcelona, I came of age and I have my life here. Barcelona has given me everything.”

The most honoured player in Barça history with 28 trophies, the same number as his team mate Andrés Iniesta, Messi also boasts an unprecedented five Ballon d’Or awards. “I always say that individual prizes are not that important to me, it’s always an inexplicable moment and it’s really nice because of what it means,” he added.

The Barça number 10 also touches on his love for his home country whom he will be representing in June in the Copa América. “It would be significant to win it,” he reveals. “We have not won it for a while and this group of players came close last year in the Copa América final and in the final of the World Cup two years ago. It would be an important trophy to win.”

With a special Centenary edition of the competition to be played in the United States, Messi is very much looking forward to performing in what is for him a “unique country.”

“I have always gone there to play and never for a vacation but what I have seen looks incredible,” he said. For the Argentine international this summer will see a “special Copa América that will take place in the USA, the best place for it with its impressive stadiums and, I imagine, lots of fans supporting each of the teams.”


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