Pique: Messi needs a competitive team to win titles

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The Spanish defender has lauded his Argentine team-mate, saying the rest of Barcelona's stars simply follow his lead

Barcelona simply look to give Lionel Messi a competitive supporting cast in search of titles, according to team-mate Gerard Pique.

Pique, who signed a new deal with Barca until 2022 on Monday, was full of praise for the Argentina international.

Messi has won 29 trophies in 14 seasons at Barca — a tally he could add to this campaign, as the Catalans sit atop La Liga and remain alive in the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

And Pique said the 30-year-old has been crucial to each of the club's titles to date.

"The key of the best generation of Barcelona is Leo. We just follow him," Pique said.

"If anyone has been very important to our winning all these titles, it's been Leo.

"We try to help him because he needs a competitive team to win titles."

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Ernesto Valverde's men boast an 11-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid in La Liga, with arch-rivals Real Madrid 19 points back.

It's been another prolific campaign for Messi, who has scored 27 goals over 32 matches in all competitions this season.

Barcelona return to the pitch on Thursday, when they host Valencia in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.

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