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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 14 November, 2018

Messi promises to do 'everything possible' to guide Barcelona back on top of Europe

The Argentine is proud to pull on the armband and hopes he can fill the big shoes left by the departing Andres Iniesta.

LIONEL MESSI SAYS following in the footsteps of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Carles Puyol is an honour and being taught by the trio stands him in good stead as Barcelona’s new captain, with the aim of bringing the Champions League trophy back to Camp Nou.

Messi, already captain for Argentina although reports have suggested he could step down from international duty, takes over the role after Iniesta departed for Japanese club Vissel Kobe.

The Barca forward gave the traditional captain’s address to the Camp Nou crowd ahead of Wednesday’s Joan Gamper Trophy 3-0 victory over Boca Juniors.

“First of all, I want to say that for me it is a great pride to be the captain,” Messi said.

“I know what it means to be the captain of Barca, but I had great teachers like Puyol, Xavi and the great Andres, who we will miss this year.”

Messi said making up for last term’s shock loss to Roma in the Champions League is top of his agenda, Barca having collapsed from 4-1 up after the first leg to exit on away goals at the quarter-final stage.

“Regarding this year, I think we have set a platform to get excited, the signings that came will help us a lot to be better than we were.

“Although last year we won La Liga and the Copa del Rey, we all got stung in the Champions League.

“We promise that we will do everything possible so that this beautiful cup returns to the Camp Nou again.”

Messi and new boy Malcom were among the goals as Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 win over Boca this evening at Camp Nou.

Having lifted the Supercopa de Espana thanks to a slender 2-1 win over Sevilla on Sunday, Barca again looked in good shape ahead of their title defence in LaLiga, which begins on Saturday against Deportivo Alaves, sweeping a feisty Boca aside with minimal fuss.

Barca gradually found their stride and went close for the first time in the 16th minute – Philippe Coutinho tricking his way past one opponent before forcing Esteban Andrada into flying save with a stinging effort.

barce-cropped_15l7hl3vpouoi1gc1tochy0ks5 Barcelona celebrate against Boca


Andrada made a mess of things shortly after, however, allowing Malcom’s low drive to squirm under him after the Brazilian had squeezed a shot past Boca right-back Julio Buffarini.

The hosts deservedly doubled their lead six minutes before the break – Messi delicately chipping a fine finish over Andrada after his attempted pass to Coutinho came back off Buffarini and fell perfectly into his path.

But they were fortunate to not concede on the stroke of half-time when Sebastian Villa broke into the area and fired against the left-hand post. Barca were a little less fluid after eight half-time changes, but Malcom did at least test Andrada from long range in the 55th minute following a clever bit of play by Riqui Puig.

They eventually added a third 23 minutes from time – Rafinha playing a one-two with Luis Suarez, before flicking the ball over Andrada and knocking in from close range. Paco Alcacer had a late goal disallowed for offside, but Barca eased to victory nevertheless.

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