Messi speaks on leaving Barcelona this summer


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Lionel Messi has said Barcelona's shock 4-0 defeat by Liverpool which sent them crashing out of the Champions League has ruined their season as they look to complete a domestic double when they face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday.

Barca had won the first leg 3-0, but capitulated in the second leg of the semi-final as they lost 4-0 at Merseyside to lose the tie to the Premier League club 4-3 on aggregate.

It was the second straight year featuring a return leg collapse for the La Liga champions, after blowing another three-goal lead against Roma in the quarter-finals of the competition last season.

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Messi insisted: "I sincerely believe that he has done an impressive job during his time here so far and he was not responsible for the elimination in Liverpool". "It was a big blow".

"We are all sad because of the game against Liverpool, but it is not on me to decide if there should be changes in the team or not".

"We were hit hard by it", he said.

The two sides are looking to end the season on a high, after being dumped out of European action in the Champions League and Europa League at the semi-final stage by Liverpool and Arsenal respectively. Missing the chance of playing a Champions League final, something we wished for so much - what happened was inexcusable.

Barca will aim to add to its Spanish league title on Saturday, but the Champions League was its main goal this season.

When asked if he himself was considering leaving Barcelona, Messi responded: "No, no, no".

"I do not have to think about whether to make changes or not", Messi said. "I think he was practically blameless for what happened with Liverpool".

Speaking about that debacle in Anfield, Lionel Messi was keen to stress that the players were at fault for the performance and not embattled coach Ernesto Valverde, who has seen his position at the club come under increasing scrutiny following that defeat.

"I would like [Ernesto] Valverde to continue".

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