View Full Version : Lionel Messi calls on Pep Guardiola to sign new contract at Barcelona

13th March 2012, 02:36 AM
Guardiola's contract at Barça expires at the end of season
'Pep is more important to Barcelona than me,' says Messi

Lionel Messi, right, says that Pep Guardiola, left, is more important to Barcelona than he is. Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has called on Pep Guardiola to sign a new contract at Barcelona. Guardiola has renewed his contract on a year-by-year basis since taking charge in 2008 and has yet to commit himself beyond the end of the season.

He has led Barcelona to 13 trophies since he took charge, including two Champions League victories and three consecutive league titles. "We want him to stay for the good of everyone," Messi said. "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."

Messi played down his own impact at Barcelona, having scored twice at the weekend to move to within five goals of the club's all-time top scorer César Rodríguez, who scored 235.

That followed his five goals 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 said. "Since he arrived he has changed everything for us. He has won everything there is to win."

Messi's double against Racing Santander took his tally in his past six matches – five for Barça 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 only 24.

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