Football News

Lionel Messi: Liverpool are in my head… not the Golden Boot

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 13:23, 25 May 2019

Lionel Messi admits he’s still thinking about Liverpool despite being on the verge of winning another European Golden Boot.

Barcelona suffered a painful 4-0 defeat at the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s men at Anfield which denied them a first Champions League final since 2015.

Remontada déjà vu: Five things to know…

  1. Barcelona defeated Liverpool 3-0 in their Champions League semi-final first leg at the Camp Nou.
  2. Liverpool returned the favour with a 4-0 victory at Anfield which means they’re now contesting back-to-back Champions League finals.
  3. Last season Barcelona visited AS Roma in their quarter-final second leg meeting with a 4-1 lead, but would be eliminated after losing 3-0.
  4. In both second legs, away from home to Roma and Liverpool, Messi failed to register a goal.
  5. He was speaking in his first Barça press conference in four years.

Embarrassment for the Catalan giants came from the fact they squandered a three-goal lead to Liverpool following the semi-final first leg. Even more damning was that they blew a similar advantage last season in the quarter-finals against AS Roma.

The shock result was met with a mixture of schadenfreude and fury. Ernesto Valverde, who has presided over both eliminations remains in charge, but since then Barça have won just one of their two matches.

Messi would register a brace in the recent 2-2 draw at Eibar which moved him to 36 league goals for the season, putting him three clear of nearest rival Kylian Mbappé, but winning the accolade for the sixth time – and third season on the bounce – isn’t on Barça’s number 10’s mind.

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“Honestly, I am not even thinking about the European Golden Shoe,” he told reporters.

“Not in my head at all. What happened at Liverpool is in my head, like I said it was a big blow and I am not thinking about personal things, just getting to this Copa final and winning another trophy.”

Messi then went on to dispute quotes attributed to him at the start of the season, in which he claimed he would bring the Champions League back to the Nou Camp – words that were used to mock him after the Liverpool defeat.

“I didn’t promise to bring ‘that beautiful and desired cup’ back,” Messi added.

“I promised to do everything to try and bring it back but we didn’t do that, so we should say sorry for that because we didn’t even compete in the second leg.”

Double double

Barça can still end the season on a high note even if they’re not facing Tottenham Hotspur in European club football’s showpiece event. Ahead of them is potentially winning back-to-back league and cup doubles under Valverde. Barcelona, before facing Liverpool, wrapped up a 26th La Liga crown and 10th in the Messi era.

Standing in their way of the Copa del Rey is Valencia who recently secured Champions League football for another season. Barça have claimed the most Copa del Rey titles – 30 in total and the last four on the bounce – with Valencia’s seventh and latest triumph coming in 2008.

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