Champions League

It feels good to be back for Barcelona – Messi

Barcelona star Lionel Messi was delighted to play 90 minutes on his return to the starting XI as his side thrashed Roma 6-1 in the Champions League.

The Argentine, who captained Barca with Andres Iniesta not playing, scored twice, had another goal disallowed and set up a goal for Gerard Pique on Tuesday.

Messi felt strong on his return to the line-up and urged his team-mates to maintain that level of performance after Roma were put to the sword, as the hosts secured first place in Group E with a game to spare.

“It felt good to play the 90 minutes,” he told UEFA.

“Little by little I am feeling better. I am happy with the result and to have played 90 minutes. We are happy with how things are going but there is still a long way to go.

“We will try to keep our level up. I am really happy for all the praise I get, but I just want to keep helping the team and hopefully we can reach our objectives at the end of the season.”

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Messi was on hat-trick when fellow forward Neymar took – and missed – a late penalty which was converted by Adriano on the rebound.

“Neymar was the penalty taker and for that he took it today,” said Messi.

Barcelona are back in action at home to Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.

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