Berlin: FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has said he believes German champions Bayern Munich’s veteran defender Philipp Lahm is the most consistent player in world football. The Argentine has scored 58 goals this season and has spearheaded his team’s quest for a treble-trophy winning season. Barcelona have already bagged the La Liga and the Copa Del Ray trophies and will face Italian champions Juventus in the Champions League final at Berlin on Saturday. Experts have tipped Barcelona as the overwhelming favourites with Messi favoured to play a stellar role during the match.
Messi and Lahm have been involved in some memorable duels in the past and the 27-year-old was effusive in his praise for the German. Messi struck twice in the first leg against Lahm’s Bayern Munich side in the Champions League semi-final. “Philipp Lahm is just the most consistent player you’ll ever see,” he was quoted as saying by squawka.com on Saturday.
Lahm retired from the national side following Germany’s success in the World Cup in 2014. He is considered by many to be one of the best full backs of his generation, and was included in the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Messi also said that despite his avalanche of goals for his club Barcelona, his primary aim remains to win trophies for the club.
“I don’t look at records, that’s not why I’m playing the game. Goals, of course. Every player in my position wants to score goals. But most of all, trophies. “My target is always to win trophies for Barcelona, and that will always be my motivation, to win things. Nothing feels better than doing that as a team,” he said. And to achieve his aim he insisted on never being short on motivation.
“Motivation is not something I struggle with. I love playing football, I love being in training, the day-to-day life is fantastic. When you have success, you just want to repeat it, again and again. “Whether it is training, playing a game, winning trophies – it is the best life I can imagine. I want to achieve as much as it is possible to achieve with this team.”
The footballer also expressed his gratitude to his teammates – past and present – who he said have helped him tremendously in his evolution to becoming arguably the world’s finest player. He said he is enjoying the partnership with Brazilian Neymar and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez for Barcelona this season. The trio have together racked up an incredible 120 goals this season.
“I’m lucky. I’ve played with so many wonderful forwards over the years. I had a great connection with Ronaldinho. I played with Samuel Eto’o, with Thierry Henry, with Pedro, David Villa, Alexis Sanchez,” he said. “But I have to say that it is hard to top lining up alongside Neymar and Suarez. They are two players at the top of their games. We have only been together as a three for one season, so there is still work to do on the partnership, and we can all improve together – but we all see it as teamwork.”
“I’ve said before that with Neymar’s quality, touch and fitness, he can become the best in the world – and Luis is the same. His touch, vision, his movement, his instinctive play, are incredible. We all offer something different, and make each other better,” he added.