Lionel Messi Snubs Barcelona In His Four Favourites To Win The Champions League
Lionel Messi has ruled out Barcelona's chances of winning this season's Champions League as he named his favourites to capture Europe's top prize.
The 32-year-old Barcelona captain last tasted Champions League success in the 2014-15 campaign and has been vocal about his desire to bring the trophy back to the Camp Nou.
But his side were embarrassingly dumped out of the tournament last season after Liverpool produced a stunning second-leg comeback in the semi-finals.
Messi revealed that Liverpool are still one of his favourites, despite suffering a first-leg 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
And the Argentine superstar also named Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Madrid as the other sides that could challenge for the Champions League this season.
"All [the teams] are complicated and difficult," he told Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.
"Paris went to play Dortmund and lost, Liverpool went to Atletico's field and lost, but I think, like that and everything, Liverpool, Juventus, Paris and Madrid are the strongest today."
Saul Niguez opened the scoring in the fourth minute at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Jurgen Klopp's men unable to find an equaliser before full-time.
But Messi admitted that he wasn't surprised with the result and suggested that the round-of-16 tie would always be difficult.
"On the day of the draw, we talked in the locker room that would be very close because Atletico competes a lot in this competition," he explained.
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"In two-match duels they are very strong and they showed it again, that they will compete and they will be there."
Barcelona will return to their Champions League campaign next Tuesday with an away trip to Napoli.
However, Messi feels that his side have been inconsistent in La Liga this season and have been hit with "problem after problem" since January.
"People are nervous," he said, before adding: "but that's normal because of everything we have experienced recently and because the team isn't playing well either.
"The league is very up and down, we're inconsistent and Madrid are too; a lot of points are being dropped, and I think we will be there.
"Then, it's true that in the Champions League we have to keep growing, and a lot too, because the way we are right now I don't think it's enough to win the Champions League.
"We have to be more consistent in our play, take on board all the new things that we're doing [with manager Quique Setien] and put them into practice as soon as possible, be more reliable, not make so many stupid mistakes...
"Since January, it has been problem after problem. What we need is calm, to be able to think about football."
Featured Image Credit: PA