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Football
Lionel Messi: 'It's Pep, not me'
The ever-modest Lionel Messi says manager Pep Guardiola is the most important individual to Barcelona football club.
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2012 18:31
Barcelona chase Real Madrid in the league but Pep Guardiola has built a phenomenal squad at Barca [GALLO/GETTY]

Lionel Messi played down his impact at Barcelona on Monday, saying coach Pep Guardiola is more important to the Catalans.

The Argentine three-times World Player of the Year scored twice at the weekend to move to within five goals of the club's all-time top scorer Cesar Rodriguez, who netted 235.

That followed his five-goal masterclass against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League last week, yet Messi lays the credit for his and the club's recent success at the feet of Guardiola.

"Pep is more important to Barcelona than me," Messi told reporters.

"Since he arrived he has changed everything for us. He has won everything there is to win."

Guardiola, who has preferred to renew his contract on a year-by-year basis since arriving at the post in 2008, has yet
to commit himself beyond the end of the season.

No I in team

The former Spain and Barcelona midfielder has led the Catalan side to 13 trophies since he took the helm, including
two European Cups and three consecutive league titles.

"We want him to stay for the good of everyone," Messi continued.

"It would be very difficult to find another coach and to do what we have achieved with him, to win what he has won and
to play the way he has made the team play."

"I am not trying to be the best in history nor the best player of the moment"

Lionel Messi

Messi's double against Racing Santander took his tally in his last six matches - five for Barca and one for Argentina - to 16.

He has already scored 50 goals in all competitions this season, three behind last year's personal best, and records continue to tumble even though he is still only 24.

"I am not trying to be the best in history nor the best player of the moment," Messi said.

"I just play to try and do things well. First I play for the team, then for the fans, and then for me. I feel good when
everything works out the way I want.

"We always focus on the team, without them none of what I have achieved would have been possible.

"It wasn't my plan to try and reach Cesar's record this season. I am very close, there are plenty of games left, but I'm
not thinking of a particular date to reach it."

Source:
Reuters
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