Lionel Messi has reflected on Barcelona’s motivation for the Champions League this term, citing the ‘bitter taste’ left by Bayern Munich last season.
In the European competition’s semi-finals last term, the Germans convincingly defeated the Catalans 7-0 on aggregate before going on to lift the trophy.
In considering Barca’s motivations heading into the new season, their No 10 admitted the hurt inflicting by the Bavarians.
“We always want to achieve more,” reflected Messi in conversation with UEFA’s official website.
“Winning the League was very important because of what it signified – winning it back after Real Madrid had won it last year.
“There's also a bitter taste after what happened in the semi-final against Bayern Munich, where there was a big gap between the two teams – we didn't go into it in our best shape.
“But that's the past and we have to look forward.
“What happened against Bayern? They were just the better team in all respects, physically and in football terms too.
“They just played a great first leg, and had the advantage over the tie, so they were really superior to us.”
On a personal note, Messi was also pipped to the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award for 2012-13 by Franck Ribery.
“Was I disappointed? No, not at all. It was an honour to be in this race again, among the best three players in Europe.
“There are so many great players in the world and it is a real pleasure to be in the competition, but he deserved to win the trophy.”
Barca’s Champions League campaign begins with a tough group phase against Ajax, Celtic and Milan.
“It's a difficult group, but we knew that would be the case. It's very difficult to win the Champions League – it's already hard from the start.
“I think the groups are very even, very balanced, so there will be some great games. We hope to play at our best level to be able to qualify.
“There are top-class, historic teams in our group – big names. Teams that we've faced before, so we know them a bit. Maybe not so with Ajax, but we've watched them. It's an exciting group.”
The Argentine commented on how early work has gone this term under his compatriot Tata Martino.
“Our adaptation with the new coach has been very quick. We try to do what he's asking – play football the way we always did.
“Of course he's a new Coach with new ideas, but our mentality is the same as ever: start in the best possible way to be able to win all the trophies we're playing for.
“We try to give our fans the best, as we've always done. We know we need each other's support and hopefully this will be a year where we can celebrate together.”