Messi: Friendship key to MSN effectiveness for Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo rubbished claims that friendship is key to good performances but the Barcelona star insists it is the crucial aspect that makes his team so effective

Lionel Messi insists that his friendship with Neymar and Luis Suarez is essential to Barcelona's brilliant attacking football.

The trio nicknamed 'MSN' combined in a ruthless counter attack to allow Messi to slot home the opening goal in Barca's 2-0 win over Arsenal in Tuesday's first-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. 

Messi, Suarez and Neymar have scored 58 goals in La Liga between them this term and their form over the last two seasons has seen them labelled the strongest attacking trident the game has ever seen.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo rubbished the notion that enjoying a strong social life with team-mates was key to improving performances on the pitch, yet Messi maintains the understanding between Barca's attackers is at the heart of their relentless form.

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"It was a very fast break which is how we like to play – with open space – and luckily we were able to do that," Messi, who later scored a penalty to secure a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium, told Uefa's official website.

"It's wonderful playing with them. We get along really well on and off the pitch.

"We really are friends and that is really important to enable us to play this kind of football."

Barca's win extended their record run of unbeaten matches to 33.