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The agent has stressed the continuing importance of the Argentine attacker while at the same time acknowledging the increasing influence of Alexis Sanchez this season

EXCLUSIVE
By Pilar Suarez

Josep Maria Minguella feels that Barcelona are still overly dependent on star forward Lionel Messi.

The Catalans put in a string of good performances during the Argentina international's recent absence with a hamstring problem, but Minguella - who was involved in the transfers of Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho and Luis Figo to Camp Nou - feels that they remain reliant on the 26-year-old when the going gets tough.

"The team still depends on Messi in the difficult moments. He has not yet been at his best after returning from injury and Barcelona have had problems against Valencia and even against Real Sociedad," the agent told Goal.

"But when Messi started pushing forward, he still decided the game against Sevilla at the weekend. His ability to single-handedly decide games is his biggest strength.

"He finds the solution in difficult games and nobody else at Barcelona - or at any other team - has the ability to do just this."

Minguella, who ran for the Barcelona presidency in 2003, then went on to discuss the situation of Alexis Sanchez and hailed the Chilean's greater contribution to the Catalans' cause this season.

"Alexis is a very special player," he enthused. "He plays a lot and always fights hard, provides a physical presence up front and puts in a lot of effort for the full 90 minutes.

"He is a different kind of player than the other attackers, both physically and technically. He can score some amazing goals and then make a childish mistake shortly after.

"But he is contributing a lot to the team and the club at the moment. He has been scoring goals and that's one of the main jobs of an attacker."

Sanchez, 25, has scored 14 goals in 19 La Liga appearances so far this term.

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