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Messi: "I haven't thought about the Golden Ball, I don't worry about individual awards anymore"

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Messi: "I haven't thought about the Golden Ball, I don't worry about individual awards anymore"

Lionel Messi spoke on an interview with TyC Sports, an Argentinian TV network, before departing to Japan to play the FIFA Club World Cup with Barcelona. The forward discussed his national team, the Club World Cup and more.

About individual awards: “To tell you the truth, I hadn't thought a lot about the Ballon d’Or this year. I set this aside some years ago, I don’t worry about individual awards anymore.”

“I’ve been lucky to have won every individual award and I’m just focused on winning stuff with the group and making my legacy bigger through collective success.”

About how his children changed him: “Football will always be special to me, because I like and I’ve liked it since I was a kid and I love playing it, but I understood that life is more than that. Thiago’s birth made me see things differently, think differently and handle situations more calmly. I love football while I’m playing it, but when it’s done I focus on my family and my stuff.”

“Thiago is super competitive, we’d be climbing up some stairs or doing something and he always says ‘I beat you, I beat you!’ But when I play something I like to win, doesn’t matter if the opponent is big or small, I like winning.”

[Interviewer] “You have no mercy then.”

“No, no. (laughs) I also like letting him win.”

“First days with Mateo were a bit complicated, but then Thiago accepted him without a problem. I had forgotten a bit how to change the diapers after three years, but it’s good.”

“Thiago understands almost everything and does things that make you laugh. Mateo doesn’t do anything yet. He eats, sleeps and poops. Antonella sometimes gets upset that I spend too much time with Thiago and not enough time with Mateo, but it’s normal, I can do more things with Thiago.”

Potential final against River Plate: “Gallardo is very intelligent, he already knows how to play against us for sure, and he will have something in mind. River has good players to go out, play and try to win the game. I don’t know if it will be like that or not, but they’re really good at it and there’s a chance they’ll go full offense.”

Intensity of Argentinian players: “The priority is to match or surpass the intensity of any team we face. Today, intensity equals everything. High pressure, going in hard for a free ball, winning the rebound play, all that is important in those matches, and you need to keep the ball as long as possible.”

The burden of the NT shirt: “Due to what we’re living, we’re having a hard time in the national team. We had the luck of reaching a World Cup final, and again for the Copa America, and it felt as if we achieved nothing. We still hear people criticizing. We didn’t win? Well, we didn’t, but it’s not like we lost in the stage of 16. We reached the final. That’s why you don’t know if a new chance will be any better when you’ll still suffer.”

Criticism in Argentina: “I hear on the streets that I don’t feel the shirt, that I don’t break my back or that we don’t run… Football is not about breaking your back. I always hear those things. But it’s not only about sweating a shirt. Many situations occur during a match. We lost a World Cup final against Germany, and Germany has good players too. And we lost because we lost, we had the best chances.”

“With Chile, in the Copa America, it was an uglier match and we also had the clearer chance. And it pisses me off that later they say ‘Go all in, you don’t feel the shirt’.”

Why don’t you sing the anthem? “I don’t sing the anthem on purpose, they started bothering me with it so I do it on purpose. Singing it will not change a thing. Does it touch me? Yes, all of us, but each one lives it in their own way. I don’t need to sing it to feel it. The Pumas cry, we don’t, each one lives it in a different way.”

On the objective to feel more rested at the end of the season and 2016 Copa América: “Yes, always, every match I play with the national team is a priority. With this club and on an individual side I had the luck to win everything. I want to win something with the national team too. I believe we will have a chance because it will be a very nice Copa América, different from the past ones, context will be spectacular.”

“World Cup, Copa América, someday we’ll have to win something.”

Memories from the U-20 World Cup in Netherlands: “I always say that it was really special to me, as the Olympics were. Those were incomparable experiences. In the World Cup I wasn’t a professional yet, we were young people who had one common goal and a lot of things were new to us. It was a great joy to win it.”

Barça trident, in the Copa América: “Yes, we talk about it, when national games get closer, we discuss it.”

Golden Ball: “It has been years since I haven’t cared about individual prizes. I am lucky enough to have won everything. What I care about is to keep on winning on team level and making my name bigger through the club’s achievements.”

On being a father: “When he grows up, Thiago, of course, will watch, listen and see what I did or did not do. If he comes, it is nice, it is impressive he is able to see all of this. He doesn’t like the whole photos and autographs thing. When supporters come, he says ‘No, my Dad.’ He doesn’t understand anything about this. He began attending school and he already has his friends, he gets together with and grows up with them. Football will always be something special for me but I have understood that life is not only about it. The birth of my son made me change a lot, I see things and think differently, handling situations in a lighter way.”

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Source: TyC Sports