Football

No rest for Messi as Barcelona prepare for Clasico

Messi celebrates scoring the winner vs Sevilla. (©GettyImages)
Messi celebrates scoring the winner vs Sevilla. (©GettyImages).

Lionel Messi has insisted he does not need to be rested, despite having played nearly 40 games for Barcelona already this season.

The Argentine striker has played 38 games across all competitions, scoring 49 goals, but has said he does not need a break despite the number of upcoming high-profile fixtures, starting with Tuesday's Copa del Rey semi-final second-leg against Real Madrid.

Messi told Barca TV: "For years now I've been used to playing a lot of matches. My body feels better if it doesn't rest.

"The most important thing is to win matches. If I can help with goals, then that's always better."

Messi has also called for improved performances from his side ahead of another Clasico on Tuesday.

He said: "Against Madrid we will have to produce our best football as we will be against a great rival. We need to be at our best in order to get to the final."

Barcelona enter the game on the back of a 2-0 loss to AC Milan in the Champions League round of 16 last week and an edgy 2-1 win over Sevilla at the Nou Camp on Saturday.

Messi added: "We need to get back playing how we were doing before and not think about what happened in Milan or the Sevilla game.

"We took the on Sevilla on the back of a bad result and that was noticeable, but we got ourselves going in the end. It is difficult for us to not be distracted by Milan and although we didn't play well then, we shouldn't allow it to get to us."

Messi netted the winner in the tight 2-1 victory over Sevilla on Saturday night to extend his La Liga scoring streak to 15 games. Barcelona trailed at half-time, but David Villa and Messi scored to confirm the win and take the Catalans' lead at the top of La Liga to 12 points.

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