Lionel Messi, the best player in the world and for many the best ever, is happy in Barcelona. He feels at home. The speculation about his future, which coincided with injuries and a bad run of form from Barça, now form part of the past.
In an interview with France Football, Messi has spoken about always wanting to stay at Barça - save a possible move to Argentina - the birth of his son and his fifth Ballon d’Or. Also up for conversation was his relationship with the likes of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo…
His fifth Ballon d’Or: Each one has its own story. I don’t think about how many more I can win. If I win another one, great, but I’m not worried about if that happens of not. I’ve never been obsessed with the Ballon d’Or. The most important thing is the team trophies and I want to win all of them.
Evolution of his game: I feel much better than I did in the last two years. In 2013 and 2014 I had various injuries and I wasn’t at full power. Now I feel back on top. I think I’ve found the level I was showing three of four years ago.
New role under Lucho: I’ve had to adapt to a new way type of game, a new position or new team-mates like Luis [Suarez], the absence of Xavi…”
Relationship with Neymar and Suarez: Every time I have the ball, Suarez and Neymar offer for it, which creates a lot of space and means there are more possibilities to generate dangerous chances because it drags defences [out of position].
Their relationship off the pitch: With Suarez I have a great relationship. He’s an incredible guy and I love his family. We are friends and so are our partners. My relationship with Neymar is also really good, we share the same objectives.
Neymar Ballon d’Or: I think that Neymar will win the Ballon d’Or one day because he has all the necessary qualities and he’s a player with class. He will be what he wants to be. He is quick, technically good and is good one-on-one - he has it all.
Birth of his first son: Thiago was born three years ago and it totally changed my life and my perception. Before everything was related to football, I could be in the house for three or four days without going out and I felt bad, tired. But since Thiago was born, even when I play badly, or even if we lose, when I get home and I see my son, everything moves on. My son’s allowed me to grow and to see football in another way. (Messi has a second son, too, called Mateo).
Cristiano Ronaldo: Even though we are rivals, we have always respected each other and felt admiration for the other one.
The future: I have always said that Barcelona is my home and I want to retire here, with regards to my career in Europe. I am never going to play for another European club, but I would like to try Argentine football. I am sure what I want and what I want is to stay at Barça.