World Cup runner- up, Ivan Rakitic, has revealed that Lionel Messi is poised to achieve a mission he set for himself and the team during their pre-season training.
According to the Croatian, Messi stated his desire to win the Champions League for the fifth time last summer, after assuming the role as captain of the Catalonia club.
Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s crunch Champions League semi-final tie against Liverpool on Wednesday, Rakitic waxed lyrical on the Argentine skipper: ‘Whenever our captain says something, whatever he says the rest of us are there to follow in his footsteps.’
‘There is a special added pressure to win the Champions League, of course, and that Barcelona have played so well in the last few years that always adds a bit of pressure.
‘Leo has been a league champion in 10 of the last 15 years, and seeing how he lifts the title with extreme happiness, that engages everyone. If Leo is still so happy to win every title and every game then what does that say to the rest of us? We are now even more eager, if that were possible.
‘We are Barcelona. We have to go all out and being able to follow the best player in history gives us a lot of added confidence. How many Champions Leagues does Leo have? He already has won four. I don’t think he’s going to get too nervous about tomorrow.’
The midfielder was also full of respect and admiration for their Wednesday night opponents, highlighting on the impressive impact Jurgen Klopp has had on the Merseyside team.
‘He has always had really organised, really tight teams. You can see they are perfect in every detail. He has made his teams improve. You can clearly see what he’s doing and the way it works.’
‘It’s going to be complicated to defend against them. They have really good players up front, so we will have to do everything together.’
‘We need to stop them early, we shouldn’t let them run at our spaces, so we have to take the pace of the game into our hands and keep them away from our goal.’