Football

Messi respects Mourinho

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Lionel Messi has spoken of his respect for Jose Mourinho, in the build up to Barcelona's El Clasico match against Real Madrid next weekend.

The 25-year-old Argentine star was asked by reporters in the aftermath Saturday's 3-2 victory against Sevilla at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, to pass comment on the Portuguese manager.

"I can't say much about Mourinho," said Messi. "I don't really know him and have never spoken with him.

"I can only talk about what he has achieved, and that's winning a lot of titles. I know that his players speak well of him, but I don't know him."

Two goals from Cesc Fabregas and a stoppage time winner from David Villa earned Barcelona victory, maintaining their perfect start to the 2012/13 La Liga campaign.

Tito Vilanova's side now travel to Lisbon where they face Benfica in the Champions League in midweek, prior to the match against Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday.

It's a game that has seen no shortage of controversy in recent seasons, with a number of clashes between players and management of both teams, most famously the eye-gouging incident between Mourinho and then, assistant manager Vilanova.

However, Messi would not be drawn on a comment to fan the flames, adding: "I always say what I think, but I do not feel the need to get myself into trouble.

"I'm not interested in creating conflicts or problems. I see no point in speaking badly of someone who I don't really know. I prefer to be respectful toward other people."

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