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Barcelona star Lionel Messi hails Pep Guardiola influence

Barcelona star Lionel Messi hails Pep Guardiola influence


Argentine striker says the Catalan side would not be the same without the former Spain international as boss

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has lauded the influence of head coach Pep Guardiola in an interview with Fox Sports.

Since taking over from Frank Rijkaard in 2008, Guardiola has transformed the Camp Nou side, leading them to three consecutive league titles and two Champions Leagues, along with triumphs in the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Copa, the Uefa Super Cup and the World Club Cup.

Messi has also prospered under Guardiola, winning back-to-back Ballon D'Ors. And now the Argentina skipper has now taken time to credit Guardiola.

"Barcelona would not be the same without Guardiola," Messi told Fox Sports. "I would never change Barcelona for anyone else."

The 24-year-old, who netted 53 goals in all competitions last year, also spoke out about the recent rivalry between his side and Real Madrid.

"I don't pay much attention to what he [Jose Mourinho] says," he added. "Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best in the world, alongside Xavi and Andres Iniesta."

Barcelona kick off their defence of the Champions League on Tuesday with a mouthwatering clash with AC Milan, who beat the Catalan side 4-0 in the final of the competition in 1994.