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He says any player can suffer when their quality is doubted...

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has rallied behind star forward Lionel Messi and insisted that he has seen "few players" with a character as strong as the Argentinian's during his time in football.

As his side prepare to take on Rubin Kazan in the UEFA Champions League tonight, Guardiola stressed that Barca are a team and the collective performance is more important than the performance of individuals.

"Leo [Messi] is the best around and this stadium will continue to enjoy him for a long time. What is clear is that when there are doubts about you quality, you suffer but he looks good in all aspects and will return to his best. He is hungry and that is what matters," Guardiola said at a press conference.

"Anyway, I do not understand the whole game being about one player. This is a collective issue. Messi can play badly as many times he wants and is the same person here or in Rosario.

"I assure you, he will be given the Ballon d'Or and will remain the best. I have seen few players with his character."

Paul Madden, Goal.com

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