'I care about Barcelona, not personal records' - Messi

Looking back at another successful year, the Argentine magician has played down his own achievements and has stressed the team's growth is the priority
By Greg Stobart in Zurich

Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi has claimed that he does not care about his personal records and would rather focus on the team's development.

The Blaugrana star had an outstanding 2012, scoring 91 goals and eclipsing Germany legend Gerd Muller's record of 85 strikes during one calendar year.

However, he was quick to play down his personal success.

"I'm not sure if this has been my best year so far. To be honest, I'm not that interested in my personal records, but in the team's success," he told reporters at the Fifa Ballon d'Or ceremony.

"My objective is to improve with the team, which of course is easier when you win."

Regarding the rivalry with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, the 25-year-old insisted that both men are focused on their own goals rather than worrying about competition.

He added: "We are not competing against each other. We just play and want to win titles with our teams. I want to play as good as possible for my team, keep on growing with them, and that's it."

The Barcelona striker then discussed Argentina's preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, adding: "We are not even qualified yet and we still have a long stretch to go to achieve that. We've had some good results in the last matches and have been playing very well recently.

"However, we still have to grow as a team and the competition is still quite far away. We want to qualify as quickly as possible to get ready for the World Cup."

The 25-year-old also reflected on his childhood, and concluded that being a footballer is all that ever interested him. 

"[As a kid], I wasn't really wondering whether I was the best, I'm not even wondering about that now. All I was interested in was playing football. As a kid you want to play, learn and improve.

"The most important thing, however, is to have fun playing football."