Banngkok: Lionel Messi on Tuesday attributed his stunning achievements to hard work and sacrifice as his Barcelona side prepare for the first game of their Asian tour in Thailand. The Spanish champions have returned to Asia three years after their last tour of the continent — home to a huge fan base and prime marketing territory.
Quizzed on the secret of his success at a UNICEF event in Bangkok, the Argentine four-time World Player of the Year said dedication was the only route to the top. “You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it,” he said.
“Training is very important. Now we have no competition we are training a lot. When the season starts we have to play matches so we will train only one or two hours a day.”
The diminutive 26-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable career in a Barca team widely considered one of the finest sides of all time.
Speaking at the event with the club’s partner charity UNICEF, Messi advised members of Thailand’s Special Olympics “unified” football team — players with and without intellectual disabilities — to lap up the experience when they travel to Brazil next year for the Global Unified Cup.
“The most important thing is to enjoy the experience,” said Messi, who will be hoping to fire Argentina to glory at the 2014 World Cup, also next year in Brazil.
“The chance to travel to a new place, meet new people… whether you win or lose is not the important part.” Messi is part of Barcelona peace campaign in Israel had earlier denied any hand in the appointment of new Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino.
“I had nothing to do with Martino’s signing. It was down to the president Sandro Rosell and the club. I said before that I thought he was a good coach, but I don’t have anything to do with this,” Messi was quoted saying by Telegraph.
Martino, former coach of Paraguay, has agreed to sign a two-year contract with the Catalan club and will replace Tito Vilanova, who resigned from the position last Friday due to health issues.
Both Messi and Martino are from Rosario, Santa Fe, and Martino said Tuesday that he was sure Messi had put in a good word for him with the Barcelona management before the club offered him the job.