Messi desperate for Cesc arrival
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi hopes the Catalan club finally seal the capture of Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas this summer.
Barca have tracked the Catalan midfielder for several seasons and had two big-money bids for their former youth team player turned down by the Gunners last summer.
But Messi, who lost out to Fabregas and his Arsenal team-mates in the first leg of their Champions League tie on Wednesday night, believes his friend will soon be a Barca player.
"Let’s hope so," he told Sport in an interview.
"In the end he will do what he wants and what the people at Barca want. It doesn’t depend on us, but I think his inclination is to be at Barcelona because there is nowhere he will be better off than here."
Barca lost 2-1 in London, despite going ahead and completely dominating the first half against the Gunners.
Messi believes Fabregas played a big part in the Arsenal revival that night and claims he is the key player in Arsene Wenger’s side.
"It’s clear he is vital for them," he said.
"Their play depends so much on him; they are constantly giving him the ball – he is a very important player for them."
In the meantime, Fabregas will be back in Barcelona next month as Arsenal look to produce a shock and knock out Pep Guardiola’s side in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Messi, though, is confident his side will prevail at the Nou Camp on March 8.
"It hurt to lose (on Wednesday) because we didn’t deserve to," he said.
"In the first half we played really well for a lot of the time, moving the ball around quickly – it’s a shame we didn’t win.
"But we are relaxed because we know we can turn this around – we only have to overcome a one-goal deficit."
Barca and Arsenal met in the quarter-finals of last season’s Champions League, when Messi struck all four goals in a 4-1 win at the Nou Camp following a 2-2 draw in London.
"It doesn’t matter how we do it (this time)," he said.
"Whether it’s with my goals or not, the most important thing is to go through.
"We have to play in the same way and if we play like we did in the first half (at the Emirates), we will have a great chance of going through."
Messi, surprisingly, has never scored against an English side away from home and the Argentina forward missed a great chance on Wednesday night, when he clipped the ball just wide with only Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny to beat.
"It was such a clear opportunity; the keeper waited right until the end, I lifted the ball over him and sent it wide – it was a shame," said Messi.
After his stunning four-goal show last season, Wenger described Messi as a ‘Playstation’.
"It makes me really happy to hear such important football people speaking kindly of you," the 23-year-old said.
"Let’s hope I can produce another great match and that we can go through."