Messi: I had a lot of problems on and off the pitch in 2014

Lionel Messi admits problems "on and off the pitch" affected his performances in 2014.

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Barcelona star Lionel Messi has admitted problems "on and off the pitch" affected his performances in 2014.

The 27-year-old still managed to score 41 goals in 46 games in all competitions last term, but failed his own incredibly high standards as Barca ended the season without a trophy.

Messi has now acknowledged that injuries and his tax case hurt his form last campaign and he is desperate to show his true self again in 2015.

"The truth is that this year I tried to get to my best form as quickly as possible. I knew I was coming off the back of a not very good year, during which I went through a lot of problems on and off the field," the Argentina international told Mundo Leo.

"It was a challenge to change the image that I had given out last season and to be the player I had been in previous seasons again. That was my objective and that’s how I came out at the start of this season, really up for it."

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner then went on to discuss Barcelona’s form in 2014-15 and their upcoming Champions League tie with Manchester City, stressing the English champions will not be pushovers.

"The truth is that we’re in good shape at the moment. Luckily, after the match against Real Sociedad everything changed. Now there is a different dynamic to the team, everything we do comes off.

"The team has a lot of confidence and we have changed the attitude and drive. That’s why we’re playing like we are at the moment, but there is still a long way to go.

"Manchester City they are a team made up of great players, so it will be a difficult tie. Their objective is to go through because they haven’t done for a while.

"It will be an even match-up and the little details will be what makes the difference. It will be a great game. City have reinforced a lot [since last season]."


The first leg of the round-of-16 tie takes place in Manchester on February 24, with the return at Camp Nou scheduled for March 18.

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