Lionel Messi has called on Barcelona to crown an “unforgettable” year with Club World Cup glory in Japan.
In their first season under Luis Enrique, Barca repeated the famous treble achieved by Pep Guardiola’s 2008-09 vintage of the Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles.
The glut of silverware was embellished by a 2-1 extra time win over Estudiantes in the 2009 Club World Cup final and Messi, who netted the decisive goal on that occasion, does not believe his team-mates will lack for motivation to emulate this success.
“There’s no need [to search for motivation],” he told FIFA.com. “We know just how much the Club World Cup means and for us it’s about winning another title, these championship wins are an indelible legacy in the history of the club. It’s something very important.
“It’s been an amazing year. That time when we won everything under Guardiola looked unrepeatable, we genuinely weren’t sure if we’d one day get close to that again.
“And here we are. Now what’s left for us to do is end the year in the best possible way and make it unforgettable.”
Barcelona begin their campaign against Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday and could meet Argentinian giants River Plate in what would be a mouth-watering final.
It would be only the second time Messi has taken on a club side from his homeland following the Estudiantes clash and he confirmed that he could have joined River as a youngster before opting to make Catalonia his home.
“It’s a strange feeling,” he explained. “In my whole career I’ve only played against an Argentinian club once, and it was that final against Estudiantes.
“It was a very tough game, one in which we were losing for a long period and managed to equalise right on full time, before going on to win it in extra time.
“But it’s also something that motivates me because River are a big club on a global scale. I think that if we play against them it’ll be a good match.”
Messi added: “Yes [I could have joined River], but that’s a very long time ago now. In the end it didn’t happen, but it is true that the possibility did come about when I was very young.”