Lionel Messi has played down his four-goal heroics in Barcelona's Champions League triumph over Arsenal on Tuesday night and quickly turned his attention to this weekend's crunch La Liga clash with Real Madrid.
The Argentina forward amazed the football world after scoring a sensational first half hat-trick at the Nou Camp, which the little maestro followed up with another late strike as he single-handedly crushed the Gunners' European dream.
But, although Messi admitted he was 'deeply touched' by his feats, theman known as 'The Flea' was in no mood to reflect on his display andrevealed he was more concerned with 'El Clasico' at the Bernabeu onSaturday, which promises to decide the destination of the Spanish titlethis year.
Finesse: Messi chips the ball over Manuel Almunia to complete his hat-trick
Messi said after the win over Arsene Wenger's men: 'It is ajoy because the team had started badly and ended in a spectacular wayand it is a thrill to feel the happiness of the fans.'
But Messi also warned that 'it will be very difficult to repeat theperformance' against Real Madrid', adding: 'The important thing is tocontinue in this way, we now have a biggame on Saturday. It will be difficult to repeat today, the importantthing is to win, even if it is 1-0.'
Unstoppable: Messi blasts in his first goal against Arsenal
The Spanish press, meanwhile, are not quite as confident of Real suppressing Messi, with Madrid-based daily sports newspaper Marca asking: 'How do we stop this guy?'
But Los Blancos coach Manuel Pellegrini was present at the Nou Camp tosee last night's incredible performance and is said to have formulated an 'anti-Messi plan', says another Spanish paper AS.
Former Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa will be given the dubious honour of starting at left back but will be assisted by the likes of Lassana Diarra, Marcelo and Raul Albiol as Real look to gang up on the winger, who has scored a magnificent 26 goals in 27 Spanish league games this season.
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