Messi: I never want to leave Barcelona

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi wants to spend the rest of his career with the European champions, who he believes are one of the greatest club sides of all time.

"The truth is my idea has been to always stay in Barcelona and see out the rest of my career here," he told Sky Sports in an interview to be broadcast on Saturday.

"Like I always say, one doesn't know what can happen in the future but if it were up to me to decide, I would stay at Barcelona for the rest of my career."

The 24-year-old Messi added that he had never seen a team play better football than the present Barcelona side.

"I didn't see the other great teams that people say have existed throughout history," he was quoted as saying on the Sky Sports website.

"Mainly because of my age, I wasn't old enough to have seen the great teams that we are compared with.

"From what I have seen I think it [the current Barca side] is the best, but I can't really compare [older great teams] as I don't know enough about the others."

BEST COACH

Messi also praised coach Pep Guardiola for Barcelona's success - they are bidding for a third Champions League title in four seasons - and for helping him score more goals.

"Since Guardiola's arrival, he has made the team play this way. When he arrived he made me play higher up, closer to the goal in order for me to score more goals which, until his arrival, I hadn't done on a regular basis.

"He made us prepare better in training and for games, making it seem that every game was a final.

"He prepares everything with his vision when the games are played and everything he does shows he is the best coach in the world."

Messi scored a Champions League record haul of five goals in one match when Barcelona beat Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 earlier this month to reach the quarter-finals where they face AC Milan.

His performance prompted Manchester United's Wayne Rooney to rate the Argentine as "the best ever" on his Twitter account and Messi said he was flattered by the praise.

"It was incredible for Rooney to say those things about me. But not just Rooney, many other players in the profession put things in respect of the game where I scored five goals.

"I am very thankful and it makes me very happy that colleagues say words of support, especially when they come from players of Rooney's class," Messi added.


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