Barcelona's Lionel Messi hoping to avoid Real Madrid in Champions League quarters: I want to beat them at another point

Argentine believes the two Spanish clubs and Chelsea are favourites

Lionel Messi has stated that he would like to see rivals Real Madrid progress into the Champions League quarter-finals when they meet Lyon on Wednesday night, but hopes that Barcelona do not have to face them in the quarter finals.

In an interview with Antena 3 TV, Messi also gave his predictions on who the favourites for the competition are, giving his side a good chance of success.

"I want to beat Madrid in the competition, but at another point," said the Argentine forward. "I do not want to get them in the quarter-finals.

"Barcelona, Madrid and Chelsea are the favourites for the Champions League."

The 23-year-old also spoke of his side's lead over Madrid in the league, saying: "I don't know if it's key, but five points is an important advantage. Five points give us re-assurance."

On the recent doping claims which have been levelled at the club, Messi added: "We're past all this. We do not pay attention to what is said and discussed. We dedicate ourselves to work and we continue to do so in the same way.

"I don't know why people say these things, but they do not prevent us from focusing, and we go out to play."

Should Barcelona and Madrid be drawn together in the quarter-finals, it would set-up four meetings between the two great rivals next month, with the Copa del Rey final and the second league fixture both occurring in April.

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