Friday 17 October 2014 14:57, UK
Barcelona 'phenomenon' Lionel Messi says he hopes to "have many more years ahead of me'' as he aims to break La Liga's all-time scoring record on Saturday.
Barca's midweek circus revolved around Luis Suarez, back in Uruguay action and finally gearing up for his Spanish football debut against fierce rivals Real Madrid on October 25.
Meanwhile scoring sensation Messi celebrated 10 years since his league debut for Barcelona this week - and is now eyeing Telmo Zarra's top-flight goal record.
The former Athletic Bilbao forward racked up 251 goals to set the Spanish record, and Messi currently sits two shy on 249.
Barca boss Luis Enrique may not unleash Messi for the full 90 minutes against Eibar at the Nou Camp on Saturday, but the 27-year-old's team-mates still believe he can set a new record this weekend.
"You could tell since he was young that he was going to be a phenomenon,'' said Barcelona defender Jordi Alba.
"He's a different kind of player; you can't compare him to anyone else.
"His goal record shows he can do it this weekend.''
Messi fired a brace in Argentina's 7-0 rout of Hong Kong in midweek friendly action, leading to suggestions Luis Enrique will use him sparingly this weekend in preparation to face Madrid.
Messi himself took to social media to toast his Barcelona decade, proclaiming his desire for "many more years'' at the Nou Camp on Instagram.
He said: "I really want to keep winning and growing. I hope it continues for many years. Many thanks for all the messages and congratulations.
"I hope I have many more years ahead of me.''
Spain full-back Alba warned his Barcelona team-mates not to underestimate La Liga new boys Eibar, or let their minds wander to the upcoming league clash with Real.
"They are having a great season since being promoted to the first division,'' said Alba.
"I like the way they play football, they have had some very good games away from home.
"We have to think about Eibar first, because if we don't win but Madrid do, then they'll just be a point off us.
"We have to take it game by game because every match is like a final.''
Former Barcelona B midfielder Dani Nieto has clear reasons to covet an unlikely victory at the Nou Camp.
The 23-year-old joined Eibar in the summer and has adapted well to new surroundings, but conceded no one at the club expected to hit ninth in the table into mid-October.
"To tell you the truth, no," he said when quizzed on whether Eibar had set sights on the table's top half.
"The other teams that have come up from the second division are not doing so well.
"This season is very long, so we have no idea where we'll be at the end.
"It's obvious Barca will attack as usual, so we'll try to get at them on the counter-attack.
"We have intensity and good strategy, and we'll try to exploit them."