Perhaps for the first time in his career, Lionel Messi had an a offa year and has admitted the same. The Argentine, who won the golden ball at the FIFA World Cup and also came second in the Ballon da Or, was embroiled in a tax case, which he admits took up a lot of his energy in 2014.

For an off year though, Messia s stats were phenomenal. He managed scoring 41 goals in 26 games, but failed to drive Barca or Argentina to any major trophy, which is something that doesna t happen too often.

“The truth is that this year I tried to get to my best form as quickly as possible. I knew I was coming off the back of a not very good year, during which I went through a lot of problems on and off the field,” the Argentina international told Mundo Leo.

“It was a challenge to change the image that I had given out last season and to be the player I had been in previous seasons again. That was my objective and that’s how I came out at the start of this season, really up for it.”

The topic then turned to next weeka s Champions League game against Manchester City who Messi believes are going to be dangerous opponents. The 27 year-old also stressed on the changing morale in the Barcelona dressing room.

“The truth is that we’re in good shape at the moment. Luckily, after the match against Real Sociedad everything changed. Now there is a different dynamic to the team, everything we do comes off.

“The team has a lot of confidence and we have changed the attitude and drive. That’s why we’re playing like we are at the moment, but there is still a long way to go.

“Manchester City they are a team made up of great players, so it will be a difficult tie. Their objective is to go through because they haven’t done for a while.

“It will be an even match-up and the little details will be what makes the difference. It will be a great game. City have reinforced a lot [since last season].”

The blockbuster clash is a repeat of the round of 16 tie from last year, which saw Barcelona dominate City in the first leg, taking a 2-0 lead back to the Camp Nou. City played much better in the second leg, but still lost by two goals to one, meaning a 4-1 aggregate win for the Catalans.

This year too, the tie is scheduled in the same format with City playing at home in the first leg on February 24 with Barca hosting the return leg on March 18.