Messi: Team comes before goals
By Football News
Lionel Messi has insisted his own goal-scoring exploits mean nothing unless Barcelona are able to win matches.
The striker has enjoyed a remarkable 12 months in front of goal, scoring 91 times to break Gerd Mueller's long-standing record of 85 strikes in a calendar year, but he has stressed the team's results will always take precedence over his personal triumphs.
He told Mundo Deportivo: "I'm happy about the goals I've scored and the records I've broken, but this year could have been better in terms of silverware. I've always said that if the team isn't winning things my goals are meaningless."
It has been a memorable year for Messi both on and off the pitch, as he achieved the record in front of goal while celebrating the birth of his first son, Thiago.
"Having Thiago was the biggest thing that has ever happened to me. It was a really special moment in my life," Messi said.
"Another reason for me to feel happy this year was the love I received from all the people from Argentina who came to watch me play."
The 25-year-old was rewarded with a new contract earlier this month to keep him at Camp Nou until 2018, and he said he hopes to remain with the club until the end of his playing days.
"I hope to finish my career at Barcelona, and this new contract takes me a step closer to realising that dream," he said.
Last season ended in relative disappointment for Barcelona, as the Copa del Rey winners finished second in La Liga to Real Madrid while their Champions League defence was ended by Chelsea at the semi-final stage.
And Messi revealed that defeat to the Blues was difficult to take, but has stressed the desire within the squad to reclaim Europe's biggest prize.
"That's something I hope to put right, because I think that over the two legs we deserved to go through to the final," he said.
"We'll do all we can to get to Wembley again and to win everything we can. That's the target, and we have to make the most of how well things are going right now to achieve that."
Messi also stated his wish for 2013 was "a speedy recovery for (Barca coach) Tito (Vilanova) and the best of health to all", as he prepared to enjoy the festive period in his native Argentina during La Liga's winter break.