Messi: Pep's the star, not me
Three-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi insists manager Pep Guardiola is far more important to Barcelona's success than himself.
Messi's remarkable tally of 13 goals in his last five games for Barca, including a record-breaking five against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League, has reignited the debate as to whether the 24-year-old is already the greatest player of all time.
The Argentinian is now within five goals of Barcelona's all-time top scorer Cesar Rodriguez, who netted 235, but Messi says his, and Barcelona's, achievements are all down to the coach.
"Pep is more important to Barcelona than me," Messi said. "Since he arrived he has changed everything for us. He has won everything there is to win."
Guardiola has led Barcelona to 13 trophies since he took charge, including two Champions League trophies and three consecutive league titles, but his rolling one-year contract expires at the end of the season and he is yet to sign a new one.
"We want him to stay for the good of everyone," Messi said. "It would be very difficult to find another coach and to do what we have achieved with him, to win what he has won and to play the way he has made the team play."
Messi's goals in the 2-0 win at Racing meant he has already scored 50 goals in all competitions this season, only three behind last year's personal best.
"I am not trying to be the best in history," Messi said. "I just play to try and do things well. I feel good when everything works out the way I want. First I play for the team. We always focus on the team - without them none of what I have achieved would have been possible."