Lionel Messi says he is lucky to be playing at Barcelona and that he owes the club a tremendous debt of gratitude.
In an interview with El Pais, the Argentine international reflected on his time with the club he joined as a 13-year-old and claims his spell at Barca’s famed La Masia academy turned him into the player he is today.
“My luck is to be at Barca where there are so many great players,” said Messi. “This team has given me everything – awards, titles, goals, everything. It will go down in history for all it has won and it has made me a better player for sure.
“I came here aged just 13 and this is where I learned everything. I grew up here, went to school here and learned most things in Barcelona. I have always said I am grateful because that's the way it is.
“The youth team I was in was one of the best at the club which is why players like [Gerard] Pique, Cesc [Fabregas] and I came out of it, along with other players who have also made their careers in Spain.
“There are players who are now at other clubs but you could see most of the players from our team would make a living at good clubs.”
Messi revealed that the fire of ambition still burns inside all the Barca players despite the trophies won over the last few years, and disclosed what it is that makes him angry.
“The best thing about this team is that after five years we are still looking forward to the next match in the same way, with the same ambition to keep on winning things.
“However, I get angry when I lose and do all I can to win. I always go onto the pitch thinking about winning, not scoring a lot of goals.
“I prefer to win trophies with the team and not as an individual who scores more goals than anybody else. I worry more about being a good person than being the best footballer in the world.
“When I retire I want people to remember me as a good person and not someone who scored lots of goals.”
He also divulged that he tries to avoid problems in his personal life and maintains he is never as happy as when he has the ball at his feet.
“I don’t feel the need to get involved in arguments. I’m not interested in looking for conflict or problems. It’s not my idea of living or my style. I prefer to be respectful towards everyone.”