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Muniain never fazed by Messi comparisons

Athletic Bilbao forward Iker Muniain insists he has never been bothered by comparisons to Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Muniain, a one-time Spain international, was once labelled the next Messi as he came through the ranks at boyhood club Bilbao.

The 23-year-old said the comparisons to the Argentina international never fazed him, labelling them exaggerated.

"It was excessive. People are swayed by euphoria," Muniain told Radio Nervion.

"It has never affected me. I've always known who I am."

Muniain had a delayed start to the season after suffering a knee injury in April last year.

But, back playing for a side sitting seventh in La Liga, Muniain is eyeing a return for Spain, having not added to his debut cap earned in 2012.

"The national team is one of my goals," he said.

"I have already debuted and want to re-enter the plans gradually."