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Messi targets titles rather than goals

Lionel Messi sets his sight on filling his trophy cabinet, not on surpassing his goal record.

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi. Picture: AFP

BARCELONA - Lionel Messi preferred to focus on winning trophies rather than attempting to better the 73 goals he scored for Barcelona last season, when he spoke at a news conference on Wednesday.

The world player of the year rattled in an unprecedented tally in all competitions in the last campaign, helping Pep Guardiola end his four-year tenure as coach with another four trophies to add to the 10 he had already won.

"I'm not looking to beat my tally of goals, that is not my objective," Messi said.

"I want to try and develop as a player and to give more to the team. I hope I still have margin to continue improving. My objective is to win more titles."

Real Madrid and Chelsea denied Barca the major prizes last year, Jose Mourinho's side winning La Liga and Chelsea knocking them out of the Champions League in the semi-finals on their way to a final victory over Bayern Munich.

"I hope we can get back to winning everything again," he added.

"We know it is very difficult to do, but I am still hurting from losing the semi-final against Chelsea with the penalty I missed, and La Liga with the defeat to Madrid at the Nou Camp."

Guardiola's number two over the last four years, Tito Vilanova, has stepped up to take the reins this season and Messi gave him his backing, having already worked with him in the club's youth academy a decade ago.

"Tito helped me improve a great deal when I was younger," he said. "I never imagined I would run into him again in the first division, but I am very pleased to have him here.

"The squad is very tight here and everyone knows what they need to do."

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