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Lallana dismisses Xavi, Iniesta comparisons

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino compared his star midfielder to the pair in March, late in a standout campaign for Lallana.

A song by the club's fans also compares Lallana favourably to Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Lallana said, while he appreciated being considered so highly, he had told Pochettino he disagreed with his assessment.

"It's flattering to hear those comparisons but I had a chat with him (Pochettino) and told him I didn't really agree with him," he said.

"I mentioned it to him a couple of times because they are world-class players who have won World Cups, European Championships and Champions Leagues.

"So, hopefully in the summer, I will have the chance to grace the field with them and test myself against them. They are obviously big players that I look up to. The way they move the ball and manipulate it.

"The Spaniards have been at the top for the past five or six years with the national team but we will be looking to change that this summer."

Along with Pochettino being linked with an exit from St Mary's, Lallana and left-back Luke Shaw have also looked set for departures.

Lallana's most likely destination looks to be Liverpool and the 26-year-old said he was eager to test himself in the UEFA Champions League.

"I'm ambitious. I have aspirations to play in the Champions League," he said.

"Ever since I've played international football, you realise there's that other level to play at. It would be great.

"I went to a couple of the Champions League games last year and the feeling you get, the buzz, it's an unbelievable atmosphere. It's definitely a goal of mine to play in the Champions League."