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Barcelona's Luis Suarez admits Lionel Messi title talk has team under pressure

Lionel Messi talks about one day leaving Barcelona, their aims for this season and rates the new signings.
Lionel Messi is not a finalist for FIFA's world player of the year award for the first time since 2006. The FC crew explain why he should be.

Luis Suarez says Barcelona are under pressure and must deliver the goods this season after Lionel Messi promised supporters the players will do everything they can to win back the Champions League from Real Madrid.

Despite winning three domestic doubles in the last four years, Barca, who last conquered the continent in 2015, have watched in envy as their Clasico rivals have won three consecutive European Cups.

In a speech to fans before the Joan Gamper Trophy match against Boca Juniors in August, Messi said that wrestling the Champions League trophy back from Madrid was Barca's top priority this year.

"Messi's already put the pressure on in terms of titles," Suarez joked in an interview with RAC1. "But now it's up to us to perform on the pitch. After the Gamper game, we spoke about the pressure he had put us under [laughs]. But that shows what Lionel is about, how desperate he is to win. I hope what he wished for comes true."

Suarez says teammate Messi, left off the three-man shortlist for FIFA's The Best on Monday, is desperate for success this season after a third-successive quarterfinal exit in the Champions League with Barca was followed up by a disappointing World Cup with Argentina.

"He's really motivated, even more so after the World Cup and the Champions League," the Uruguay forward added. "Now he's the captain, the leader and he wants to lift trophies. We have a quality team and a coach to be able to win everything.

"But it's a really difficult competition to win and [Messi] can't win it on his own. It has to be a collective effort, as good as he is. We have to be compact. Leo deserves more.

"Obviously it's infuriating [for us] because Madrid have won the Champions League in each of the last three years. They have made history and it's a thorn in our side."

Madrid have undergone some big changes in the summer, with coach Zinedine Zidane stepping down, replaced by Julen Lopetegui, and star player Cristiano Ronaldo sold to Juventus for €100 million.

Messi believes Ronaldo's sale weakens Madrid, but Suarez warned against underestimating them, highlighting the fact that some players, like Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, have taken on bigger roles since the Portuguese forward left.

"Madrid have a lot of quality and a new coach," he added. "You have to be careful [writing them off]. Madrid and Barca are both above any individual player. The players at Madrid that were inhibited before are now performing at a good level."

Barca, meanwhile, have kept all of their best players this summer as well as adding four new signings in Arthur Melo, Clement Lenglet, Malcom and Arturo Vidal, who they hope will add depth in their tilt for Champions League success.

"The signings fit Barca's profile in every sense," Suarez said of the newcomers. "They're humble, hard-working and keep their heads down. Arthur aside, the rest know what European football is about.

"I've been surprised by the quality that Arthur and Lenglet have. Messi told me that Arthur reminds him of Xavi. Arturo Vidal would give his life for the team and Malcom's like [Juventus'] Douglas Costa when he was starting out."

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