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Messi back to business for Barça

Published: Tuesday 7 March 2006, 5.50CET
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi is ready to finish the job he started so impressively in the home leg of the UEFA Champions League tie against Chelsea FC.
by Julio Gomes Filho
Published: Tuesday 7 March 2006, 5.50CET

Messi back to business for Barça

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi is ready to finish the job he started so impressively in the home leg of the UEFA Champions League tie against Chelsea FC.

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi is ready to finish the job he started so impressively in the home leg of the UEFA Champions League tie against Chelsea FC.

Tricky conditions
The Primera División outfit took a 2-1 lead against José Mourinho's team a fortnight ago as Messi made light of a difficult surface at Stamford Bridge. The Argentinian midfield prodigy is convinced his side will not slip up against the club that knocked them out of the competition in 2004/05 on a much smoother pitch at the Camp Nou.

Home advantage
"It is only half-time but I am totally confident Barça will finish the job," he told uefa.com. "With our supporters behind us and with our ability, we can beat any team. Chelsea still have a chance and I fully expect them to come forward and attack us, but I think we can stop them."

Controversial dismissal
Much of the talk in the Chelsea camp following the first leg concerned the 37th-minute dismissal of defender Asier Del Horno for a challenge on Messi, but the 18-year-old is determined to rise above such chatter and demonstrate his skills tonight.

Stylish ambitions
More than that, Messi is eager for the Spanish champions to prove they have quality throughout against their English counterparts. "We want to outplay them in this match," he said. "It's the way we play football. We don't mind what Mourinho says about us, as long as my team-mates and I win and go on to become European champions.

'Not worried'
"We're not worried about Chelsea. We aren't concerned that they might do what Arsenal [FC] did [winning 1-0] at Real Madrid [CF] because those are two different teams. Whether Chelsea are English, French or German we don't care. We are confident of beating them."

Edmílson impressed
While much of Europe has marvelled at Messi's progress, his own colleagues have been particularly impressed. Brazil defender Edmílson said: "Messi is very, very, very good. He trained with us last season and maybe most people didn't notice his presence. But if you had a closer look, you could see he was different. It is a plus for us."

'A new generation'
The teenager has been compared to Manchester United FC forward Wayne Rooney and Real Madrid CF's Brazilian prodigy Robinho, but he believes there are few parallels in terms of individual styles. "People liken me to Rooney and Robinho but I think I am maybe from a new generation," Messi said.

Level head
"I was pleased with how the first leg went for me, but I am not getting carried away," he added. "I want supporters to recognise me for my good play. Barcelona played well in London and controlled Chelsea well. I just tried to play my part in helping us win. I have to keep on working hard and giving my best."

Last updated: 07/03/06 23.51CET

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