Lionel Messi has taken a pot shot at those who criticised his Barcelona form earlier in the season, only to laud his performances now.
Messi starred as Barca dispatched Manchester City to move to the Champions League quarter-finals, catching the eye with a series of nutmegs and spectacular dribbles.
He spoke to Canal+ after the match and rejected the suggestion much has changed for him personally, but did admit the team was in better shape now.
“If I do nothing it’s a disaster…I’m not going from a disaster to my best form,” he countered, AS reports.
“As I’ve said, we started the year differently, the enthusiasm has been renewed and we’ve started well. We’ve had ups and downs.
“There are a lot of games to be played but the important thing is that we are at a high level and have to maintain it.”
Messi was unable to get on the score sheet at Camp Nou, thanks in large part to a Joe Hart performance that has been heavily praised in the Spanish Press, and Messi joined in the commendations.
“He stopped everything. We did everything we could to score but the goalkeeper had a great match and I have to congratulate him,” Messi acknowledged.
“But we went through, which was important.
“I felt we played a great match. We’re at a very good level but there are important things to come. [The game against] Real Madrid, the [Champions League] quarter-finals…I feel good and I’m enjoying it but there’s a lot left that’s important.
“I didn’t hear the fans chanting my name. But it’s beautiful to know the people love you.”