Barcelona is working with the best frontline in the sport right now. The trio of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez has been dominating on the pitch in every match the club competes in. When defenses focus on one player, the other two have big performances. While talent runs deep in all three players, but Messi says the x-factor to the unit is friendship.
Barcelona is coming off yet another dominating performance where Messi had two goals against Arsenal in the Round of 16 play in Champions League. Both Neymar and Suarez had their opportunities as the score could have been much worse for the Gunners. The connection between the three players was on full display as Messi believes that friendship is what leads the trio on the field.
"It was a very fast break which is how we like to play - with open space - and luckily we were able to do that," Messi said, via Goal.com. "It's wonderful playing with them. We get along really well on and off the pitch. We really are friends and that is really important to enable us to play this kind of football."
The comments from Messi come after Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo said that friendship is not important to performance on the field. Ronaldo was being asked to compare his friendships and relationships with his teammates to that of the Barcelona trio and he made it clear that hanging out off the pitch meant nothing. Neymar sided with Messi when asked about the Barcelona friendship.
"We are achieving special things on the field, and our friendship off the field plays a big part in that," Neymar said, via John Cross of the Mirror. "None of us is concerned about personal glory. Who scores, who assists, who wins individual awards, it does not matter. All that matters is what Barcelona can achieve, and we are believing for another very special season."
Messi is making it clear that Barcelona is only getting started. The team was good against Arsenal, but not great and he believes they can do a lot better in the coming months. The team will get another shot to play the Gunners in March and he was an improved performance in Champions League play. Barcelona is a heavy favorite in the entire tournament, but Messi believes the team still has a way to go before achieving that.
"But above all the fact we played a great game and got a big result, against a very good team, is the most important thing," Messi said, via TV3 on Goal.com. "[Arsenal] marked very hard, because they are very strong players. But we knew in the second half they would slow down, it is difficult to keep up such a high rhythm."