Lionel Messi admits to having a tough 2013/14 season, vows to bounce back
Lionel Messi admitted that he “went through a lot of problems on and off the field” during a tough 2013/14 season. He also said he is ready to put them behind and lead Barcelona to success this year.
In an interview, Messi said, “The truth is that this year I tried to get to my best form as quickly as possible. I knew I was coming off the back of a not very good year, during which I went through a lot of problems on and off the field.
The 27-year-old endured a tough season last year as his team lost the La Liga title to Atletico Madrid on the last day of the campaign. Barcelona also got beaten by arch rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final. The Catalans also lost out to Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. On the international stage, Messi endured the heartache of his Argentina side losing the World Cup final in extra time with Germany lifting the cup.
Off the field, the maestro’s luck didn’t change with an investigation launched on him and his father by the Spanish tax authorities. Messi also reportedly fell out with new Barca coach Luis Enrique, leading to speculations that the Argentine was on the lookout for move away from Camp Nou. Messi also missed out on the Ballon d’Or to Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It was a challenge to change the image that I had given out last season and to be the player I had been in previous seasons again. That was my objective and that's how I came out at the start of this season, really up for it.”
Messi sees a successful season ahead
Messi has seemingly regained his old form in the second half of the current season and has propelled Barcelona to 11 consecutive wins in all competitions. Barcelona have climbed up to second place in La Liga and are just one point behind Real Madrid after a shaky first half of the season. They are also through to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and the last 16 of the Champions League.
Messi said, “The truth is that we're in good shape at the moment. Luckily, after the match against Real Sociedad, where we didn't start the year very well, everything changed.
“Now there is a different dynamic to the team, everything we do comes off. The team has a lot of confidence and we've changed the attitude and drive.
“That's why we're playing like we are at the moment, but there is still a long way to go. We still haven't won anything yet.
“There are many months of competition left in the league and in Europe. And we have to try and reach the cup final as well. We have to carry on as we are to reach our goals.”
Messi labels Manchester City as tough opponents
Barcelona have now drawn Manchester City two years running in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. Messi believes that the reigning English Champions will be a tough challenge to overcome.
He said, “We drew City like last year and they are a team made up of great players, so it will be a difficult tie. Their objective is to go through because they haven't done for a while.
“It will be an even match-up and the little details will be what makes the difference. It will be a great game, and City have reinforced a lot (since last season).”