Lionel Messi has stressed that titles are more important than individual records after his best personal season Barcelona failed to deliver either the Champions League or Primera Division titles.
The Argentinean scored a staggering 73 goals as Barca won the Copa del Rey, World Club Cup and both European and Spanish Super Cups.
The main prizes eluded them, though, but Messi believes that both he and the team can find a way to succeed under the management of Tito Vilanova – Pep Guardiola‘s replacement.
He told Marca after starting pre-season training: “What Tito Vilanova has done in these two days is exactly what Pep did in his four years. The same hard-working people remain, everything is equal and we start in the same way.
“I am not looking to beat my level of goals. This isn’t my objective. My objective is to win titles and this for
us is fundamental.”
The three-time World Player of the Year also accepted that whilst beating his personal numbers from last season may be difficult, it is overcoming Real Madrid that remains the biggest challenge.
“Every year is difficult. Real Madrid won the league last year and this season will be very difficult. Our objective is to fight until the end. This year we will do the same,” he added.
“I try to improve every year. I try to continue my level and continue growing with the team and the players we have. I always try to take advantage of the moment and I hope that this year will be the same and I won’t have to lose any game.”
Finally, Messi also hailed the return of David Villa to full fitness as a key factor in the lack of Barca’s transfer dealings this summer.
Villa missed the second half of the season and the European Championships with a broken leg, and Messi said: “We don’t lack any forward with the players we have got. Villa is recuperating very well and we hope he will return to his best level. He is a very important footballer for us.”