Messi fires trophy warning

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Lionel Messi has warned his Barcelona team-mates against losing focus in the finale to a season which promises much silverware.

The Catalan giants are on course to win a domestic double of the La Liga title and the Copa del Rey, while they have reached the last eight of the Champions League.

But despite taking the plaudits in recent weeks on the back of some impressive displays, Messi has warned that the season could still end in disappointment if the players take their eyes off the ball.

"We're enjoying ourselves playing football but we're also doing it with seriousness," he said.

"We're doing well and that translates into good football, but at the same time we're not losing our reference points.

"The plaudits are good, if we play well it's nice that people praise our football. But what's most important is that we remain conscious that we are only in the middle of the road.

"We're enjoying ourselves, but we'll enjoy it more if we win trophies so much more."

David Albelda has confirmed he will leave Valencia at the end of the season should the cash-strapped club look to offload him.

The former Spain international has successfully rehabilitated his career at the Mestalla after being banished to the reserves last season under former coach Ronald Koeman.

The 32-year-old has made 28 appearances in all competitions this season but has conceded this may be his last year with Los Che - and indeed football althogether.

"I would really like to stay and play at the top with Valencia but I am open to anything," said Albelda.

"It depends on the needs of the club. If one day Valencia decide they do not want me then I could well try my hands abroad, for example.

"In my opinion what most important is to be well and to give everything we can. Then we will decide whether later on we retire or move."

Meanwhile, Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop has urged the club's board to keep faith with under-pressure coach Manolo Jimenez.

Jimenez came under fire earlier in the season with the Andalucian club off the pace in the battle to secure Champions League qualification.

Sevilla are currently third in the table following an improvement since the turn of the year and Palop believes Jimenez remains the right man for the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan hot-seat.

"(The players) want a coach who is here for a long time and that we all know well because that would be beneficial," he said.