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Leo Messi and Ernesto Valverde, in a photo from last season | MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Preparing for the World Cup, Leo Messi is hurrying before heading to Russia. After spending a few days training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper with la albiceleste, the Barça No.10 is packed and ready to go. Before leaving, he wanted to review the current status of Barça, in an in-depth interview with the Sport newspaper, where he also talked about his life in Barcelona.

As he’d said in his interview with Mundo Deportivo, Messi is proud of the season that Barça had, including winning the double. "Despite not winning the Champions League, it should not detract from the season we’ve had, with a double that’s very good. Barça’s year has been spectacular. We've only lost three games, but we were unlucky enough to be knocked out of the Champions League against Roma."

It was a season with Ernesto Valverde as coach for the first time, a man whom Messi has a great relationship with. "With Valverde I feel spectacular. The way he is, the way he talks to the players, for being such a good person, sincere... With all the coaches, I’ve had good experiences and I’m grateful because I’ve learned from everyone.”

Messi didn’t only talk about the Barça’s season, he also dealt with other outstanding topics that we review below:

ADAPTATION TO BARÇA’S STYLE

"Sometimes it is difficult to adapt, because it seems simple but it isn’t. We were born with a quality of knowing how to play, but it's not easy. Obviously, when you have quality, you can adapt quicker, but the philosophy of the Club is different from all others.”

THE EVOLUTION OF HIS GAME

"The issue of reinventing myself on the pitch came about only by circumstance, at times within a game... I felt the freedom to play further back, to start the play from behind, but not to lose the ability to get near to the opponents goal, which is always what I like.”

GOALS AND CELEBRATIONS

"I don’t look at the goals for beauty, but for importance. For me, the most beautiful goal of my career was the header in the final of the Champions League against Manchester United, for what that match meant. Special goals are the most important.

"My celebrations are spontaneous. It’s happiness after achieving something almost impossible, as with the PSG match. Or against Madrid, which are special games that we always want to win. I just let the joy flow.”

THE FUTURE

"I haven’t thought about what I want to do when I retire. I will find the way and we will see how everything goes. Today I don’t see myself as a coach, although I don’t know what will happen."

DIFFICULT MOMENTS

"There are many down the years. Sad moments are experienced when one doesn’t meet professional objectives. Luckily, I feel supported by everyone.

"For example, it was also a difficult year before the last World Cup. I had an injury in the middle of the season and it was a complicated process, but I was supported by my family, my wife and my children. I always isolated myself from everything by enjoying them.”

RELATIONSHIP WITH CATALONIA

"My children were born here and they are from here. They have Argentine roots, but they have all the customs of a Catalan.

"Barcelona has given me everything, both the club and the city. I am very grateful and happy to live in Barcelona and to play at the best club in the world. I am a lover of the city and the way of living here."

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