Messi praises Barca success story

Updated: 06 April 2011 09:55 IST

Barcelona striker Leo Messi believes that this team already has its place in history as they prepare to take on Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Messi praises Barca success story

Barcelona:

Barcelona striker Leo Messi believes that this team already has its place in history as they prepare to take on Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League quarter-finals.


The Catalan side have reached the Champions League semi-finals every time since coach Pep Guardiola took over in the summer of 2008 and won the title in 2009 with a victory over Manchester United in Rome.

Domestically they are also hot favourites to win the la liga title for the third time in succession as a 1-0 victory over Villarreal at the weekend opened up an eight-point gap at the top of the table.

Still, they cannot afford to under-estimate their Ukrainian rivals as although they beat them in the UEFA Super Cup in 2009, Shakhtar came out on top the last time the sides met at the Nou Camp, a 3-2 victory in the group stages of the 2008-09 campaign.

"They are a difficult opponent but we need to concentrate on our own game. We need to go out and win so as to make it easier for the away leg," said Messi.

"We have belief in ourselves, I would say that for our style of football and our results but most of all for our style of play we have marked an era and I would say we are the best team at the moment.

"I don't think that we feel under pressure against Shakhtar because we are expected to win, as it is always the same for us."

Messi is expected to play from the start after coming on in the second half against Villarreal.

With Pedro Rodriguez also set to be fit it means that Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal are the only absentees. Guardiola was not getting carried away ahead of the game and warned against complacency.

"Every match is difficult at this stage of the season. They are a strong side which is getting better and better. We need the fans to get behind us and we need to be at our best," he said.

"People have underestimated Shakhtar and I don't like that. It will be very important to score and not let them score. They are a team which has won titles and have good players like (Dmytro) Chygrynskiy. They have a base of seven or eight experienced players and they have added some Brazilians to that.

"At the stage of the competition it is not just a case of playing well as small details are decisive."

Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu insisted that his side would go out to get a result at the Nou Camp which would enable them to stay well in contention.

"There are two matches to play. It is impossible to forecast a result against Barca - (but) we are going to try to play the kind of game which will give us a chance of going through in the return," Lucescu told reporters.

Lucescu also suggested that his side is "the team which has progressed the most in the past few years. Each year we have done something. It is an important milestone to get to the quarters and it is important to consolidate."

"We know Barca well - we have played them three times recently.

"Barca are better and the favourites. I think at the moment they are the strongest team in footballing history. But we are going to give a good account of ourselves."



Topics : Football Shakhtar Donetsk Barcelona Lionel Andres Messi
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