Lionel Messi says he and many of his Barcelona teammates already have the 2014 World Cup on their minds.
The reigning Spanish champions are currently competing on all fronts, both domestically and in the Champions League, but their Argentine superstar freely admits that the memebers of Blaugrana's Brazil-bound international contingent are already thinking about their summer assignments.
“We [Barcelona] are taking things one step at a time but, to tell the truth, the World Cup’s on all of our minds already,” Messi told Fifa.com. “But we’ve got lots of important challenges before that: the Champions League; trying to retain the Liga title; the Copa del Rey ...”
Messi will embark upon his third World Cup campaign with Argentina this summer, having been part of the squads that made quarterfinal exits to Germany in both 2006 and 2010.
"World Cup games are totally different. Right from the off, the atmosphere and the build up make it different to any other competition," the 26-year-old attacker said. “While the Champions League is great, the World Cup is special.”
Argentina has been drawn alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran in Group F of this summer's tournament and the 2013 Ballon d’Or runner-up shrugged off talk of a straightforward path into the knockout stages.
“There’s been a lot of talk about how easy it’s going to be, that Argentina are bound to go through comfortably, but it’s a World Cup and there are no easy teams," he said. “If they’re there it’s because they deserve to be – there are no straightforward matches at a World Cup.”
Messi only recently returned from injury for Barcelona but insisted he was ready for the busy period ahead after dedicating himself to making a full recovering in his home country.
“In physical and mental terms I’m in good shape for these coming six months," he said. "I think the time in Argentina went well, though I can’t say I had much contact with people, as I was more focused on my recovery.”