No Premier plans for Messi
Lionel Messi has told Sky Sports he has no ambitions to play in the Premier League because he wants to stay at Barcelona.
Last Updated: 17/03/12 3:08pm
Lionel Messi says he has no ambitions to play in the Premier League because he wants to stay at Barcelona for the rest of his career.
The Argentina superstar joined the Barcelona Academy at the age of 13 and after winning five league titles and three Champions Leagues, he says he has no intention of ever leaving the Catalan club.
Speaking exclusively to Soccer Saturday, Messi admitted he likes watching Premier League football, but while he would not completely rule out joining an English team one day, he currently has no plans to leave Spain.
"It's a league I like," he said. "I have friends that are playing there and I follow it as and when I can. Players I like are Kun Aguero and Rooney. These are two players that I like.
"The truth is my idea has been to always stay in Barcelona and see out the rest of my career here.
"Like I always say, one doesn't know what can happen in the future but if it were up to me to decide, I would stay at Barcelona for the rest of my career."
Messi produced one of the most eye-catching performances of his career with a five-goal haul in Barcelona's 7-1 Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month.
The display prompted Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney to proclaim the Argentinian as "the best ever" on his Twitter account - and Messi said he was touched by the compliment.
"It was incredible for Rooney to say those things about me," he added.
"But not just Rooney, many other players in the profession put things in respect of the game where I scored five goals.
"I am very thankful and it makes me very happy that colleagues say words of support, especially when they come from players of Rooney's class."
Barcelona are now targeting their third Champions League win in four seasons as they bid to become recognised as one of the greatest teams in football history.
Messi believes the key to their success has been the influence of coach Pep Guardiola, whom he regards as the best in the business.
And he says he has never seen a team that plays better football than the current Barcelona side.
"I didn't see the other great teams that people say have existed throughout history," he said.
"Mainly because of my age, I wasn't old enough to have seen the great teams that we are compared with.
"From what I have seen I think it is the best, but I can't really compare [older great teams] as I don't know enough about the others.
"Since Guardiola's arrival, he has made the team play this way. When he arrived he made me play higher up, closer to the goal in order for me to score more goals which, until his arrival, I hadn't done on a regular basis.
"He made us prepare better in training and for games, making it seem that every game was a final.
"He prepares everything with his vision when the games are played and everything he does shows he is the best coach in the world."
Lionel Messi was speaking at the launch of EA SPORTS' FIFA Street, out now.
Tune in to Gillette Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News HD from 12pm to see the full interview.