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Jun, 28, 2013

Messi backs Mourinho to succeed

Barcelona star Lionel Messi believes former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho will succeed in his new role at Chelsea.

Messi, who is currently caught up in a tax fraud investigation along with his father, insists Real will be equally competitive without Mourinho, but wished the Portuguese well at Stamford Bridge.

"I think the Spanish league is difficult anyway and will continue being difficult," said Messi, who visited the Senegalese town of Saly today as part of the Aspire Academy's Football Combating Malaria project.

"We'll be fighting against strong teams with great players like Real Madrid. Mourinho was a great coach but we know that Ancelotti is equally great.

"I think Mourinho will also succeed back at Chelsea because he's a great manager."

Messi will play alongside Brazil starlet Neymar next term, and the Argentine is confident the pair can strike up a lethal partnership in attack. He also believes Barca will make a strong challenge for the Champions League title, even if faced with former boss Pep Guardiola and defending champions Bayern Munich.

"I know Neymar is a great player who is going to bring a lot to Barcelona," he said. "God willing, we will be able to play together at Barca."

"I think we have a great team and great players, as we've shown over the years. I think the arrival of Guardiola will make Bayern stronger.

"Winning the Champions League is always difficult and our objective is trying to win everything and succeed in all competitions. That's how we work at Barcelona.

"You talk of Germany dominating football recently - I don't know what is going to happen in the future.

"I know Germany have a history of great teams in global football at international level and club level. Winning the Champions League is difficult for anyone, whether they are from Germany or Spain. But I know Germany had a great year last year."

Messi is under pressure to deliver for Argentina, having never really reproduced his club form at international level, and realises next year's World Cup in Brazil is a real opportunity to finally win a trophy for the Albicelestes.

"If God wills it, then we will win the World Cup," he added. "We still have a year to go until the next tournament and we need to keep developing and improving.

"We still have some way to go but I think we have time. We need to keep improving and it would be a dream for us to win the World Cup."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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