Barcelona top-scorer Lionel Messi explains how has role has developed under Valverde

Barcelona top-scorer Lionel Messi explains how has role has developed under Valverde

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has described how his role has continued to develop under new manager Ernesto Valverde.

The Argentine forward netted his 24th La Liga goal of the season as Barcelona beat second-placed Atletico Madrid 1-0 at the Camp Nou last weekend, extending their lead to eight points at the top of the table.

The 30-year-old converted from a free kick in the opening half of the game, scoring his 600th goal for both club and country in the process.

Over the past year Messi has been begun to drift a few metres back in order to receive the ball earlier and create more plays, instead of starting closer to goal. And this has continued under Valverde, who took over from Luis Enrique last summer.

Despite playing slightly deeper, the 30-year-old – who currently sits as top-scorer of both Barcelona and La Liga – insists that his main focus is still about hitting the back of the net.

“In the last year I might have moved my position backwards a little bit more and come from behind to [attack] the box, unlike other years that I was [playing] more up front,” Messi said to Marca.

“It is true that I’ve done that, but always with the idea of continuing to score goals.”

In addition to his 24 La Liga goals, he has also registered 12 assists and created a further 61 chances for his teammates.

Messi remembers his favourite goals

Barcelona are in a good position to finish the season with a treble. They have reached the Copa del Rey final and will host Chelsea next week in the Champions League with an away goal in tow.

Messi scored the crucial equaliser at Stamford Bridge in a game the Blues dominated tactically.

While speaking to reporters, the Argentina all-time top-scorer also recalled his Champions League debut with Barcelona against Shakhtar.

“My first match in the Champions League was in Ukraine against Shakhtar [Donetsk],” he said.

“It was a match featuring many guys from [Barcelona] B, because Barcelona had already qualified for the next round. We played against a great team and we lost, but the feeling of debuting in the Champions [League] was very nice.”

Messi admitted that though he has scored an incredible selection of goals, his favourites are typically the ones he scores against fierce rivals Real Madrid.

“I always say that I remember important goals like those of the Champions League finals or the semi-finals against Real Madrid,” he continued.

“I have very nice memories in this competition, which I really like and I enjoy playing in it.”