Messi: I’m no ball hog

"I have never considered myself a ball hog, even if others thought so," the 25-year Argentine football wonder said in an interview with Spain's top selling sports daily Marca on Tuesday.

"But I have also taken those opinions into account to try to improve," said Messi, who also heads a 23-strong shortlist for a Fifa/France Football Ballon d'Or award for the world's best footballer of the year.

The Argentine, who has already won the Ballon d'Or three times, is the second-best passer of the ball in the Liga so far this season, with four passes ending in goals, only behind teammate Cesc Fabregas who made six.

Messi also is the top scorer this season with 13 goals in the Liga, smashing through the 300 goals mark for his career in just 419 matches.

"My playing style has always been the same. I have never looked for it, but it has been like that since I was small," Messi said.

"One thing for sure is that I learned a lot in youth football. Here we work in a different way with the ball and the tactical system. I came from Argentina where we did not do anything like that, everything was about running and not much else."

Messi hailed the recent success of Argentina, who now lead their group in the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with only one defeat, a 1-0 loss to Venezuela.

"What has changed is the results. Winning gives you a lot of confidence and you work differently."

"Winning the World Cup is the greatest. And if it's in Brazil, even better," he added.

Messi, who will soon be the father of a son, Thiago, had a few words for his offspring's future: "He should be whatever he wants to be … When he grows up he will get to know what he wants and what he chooses will be fine for me, for his mother and for everyone." – AFP


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