Messi: Enjoyment more important

Lionel Messi has taken a thinly-veiled swipe at teams who play for the sole purpose of victory, believing that enjoyment should be the prime purpose of football.

The Argentina forward – widely regarded as the best player in the world – is the star attraction of Barcelona’s "tiki-taka" style of play that has received acclaim from the media and fans alike.

Yet the Catalan club finished behind Real Madrid in the Primera Division and were surprisingly knocked out of the Champions League in the semi-final stage by Chelsea, who were outplayed for large spells, this year.

The styles of both Jose Mourinho’s men and the Blues have attracted criticism in the past for being too defensive.

And perhaps with that in mind, Messi told the Times magazine

"Football is a game. I’m trying to have fun on the pitch, always, just to play.

"That’s why I do it. The day I stop having fun is the day I retire…I never want to lose that spark, that passion.

"Today, teams are playing more statically, more for the final score than producing good football.

"For them, it’s more important to win than to play well. We need more players with passion coming up for the good of football."