Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Messi needs a magic memory

If the Champions League final is the biggest of Pep Guardiola's managerial career it also has huge significance for Leo Messi who missed the last Champions League final against Arsenal.

Messi is in the form of his life having scored 37 goals in all competitions.

He said: "This is the most important game of my life. Not being able to play the game against Arsenal was so tough but now I can make up for that. We are aware that we are very close to making history. We have played so well all year and now we have a great chance to make it all worthwhile."

Messi claimed Guardiola's influence had been key in his transformation from goal maker to chance taker.

He said: "I am scoring more goals but that has a lot to do with the way the team is playing. The fact that I am playing much closer to the area helps me.

"It was the first thing that Pep Guardiola said to me in the summer that I had to get more goals."

Guardiola has spent the whole season shooting down the euphoria that has surrounded a record points and goals haul in La Liga for Barcelona.

But as Omens go the venue for the final perhaps does not bode well. After finishing his career at Barca he went to Italy where he played for Brescia and then to Roma for whom the Olympic stadium is home.

He said: "What memories do I have? Well mainly I remember the bench! I didn't play too many games. They were two very intense years with some good times and some bad times too."

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