Lionel Messi's double at Racing Santander on Sunday took his goal tally to a remarkable 16 in six games – five for Barcelona, one for Argentina – but yesterday the three-times World Player of the Year played down his importance to the Catalan club as he paid tribute to coach Pep Guardiola.
Despite moving to within five goals of Barcelona's all-time top scorer Cesar Rodriguez, who netted 235, the Argentine said; "Pep is more important to Barcelona than me. Since he arrived he has changed everything for us. He has won everything there is to win."
Guardiola, who has preferred to renew his contract on a year-by-year basis since arriving at the post in 2008, has yet to commit himself beyond the end of the season. The former Spain and Barcelona midfielder has led them to 13 trophies since he took the helm, including two European Cups and three consecutive league titles.
"We want him to stay for the good of everyone," Messi added. "It would be very difficult to find another coach and to do what we have achieved with him, to win what he has won and to play the way he has made the team play."
Messi's goals in the 2-0 win at Racing meant he has already scored 50 goals in all competitions this season, only three behind last year's personal best.
"I am not trying to be the best in history," said the 24-year-old. "I just play to try and do things well. I feel good when everything works out the way I want. First I play for the team. We always focus on the team – without them none of what I have achieved would have been possible."