Barcelona's David Villa: Lionel Messi has made me a better player

The Spanish ace says he has become a more complete player since moving to Camp Nou, while crediting the diminutive Argentine for his improvements
Barcelona striker David Villa says he has improved as a player since joining the Catalan club, paying special tribute to Lionel Messi.

The Spain international joined Barcelona from Valencia in the summer of 2010 for €40 million after spending five years at Mestalla.

Villa enjoyed immediate success at Barca, helping the club win the Spanish Supercopa, La Liga and the Champions League in his first season at Camp Nou.

The 29-year-old has been used in a wider role at Barca, rather than being a target man, and he claims he has become a better player since his transfer last year.

"I have other tasks and although it is the same offensively, it is not the same in defence," he told El Pais.

"I am proud to be doing well and to be enjoying football from a position that was not my own until recently.

"Pedro has helped me a lot. When I had doubts, I observed him. When I was a bit lost on the field, I would look to see what Pedro was doing on the other side and he would guide me."

The striker went on to praise Lionel Messi, who has played a leading role in Barcelona this season with 14 goals to date in all competitions.

"Messi is a player who demands a lot from those who are around him because you always need to be alert," Villa added.

"Sometimes, it seems impossible that he has seen you, but he has. You must be ready for the impossible when you are playing with Messi because, it is not about what he does, but about what he makes others do.

"Honestly, I have improved by playing next to him. In the future, when I look at photos of Messi in which I am next to him, I will be able to say: 'I played with Leo Messi'.

"That is a privilege."