• Champions League

Messi relishing 'difficult' draw, loses out to Ribery

ESPN staff
August 29, 2013
Franck Ribery pipped Lionel Messi to the award © AP

Lionel Messi is looking forward to a "nice" test following Barcelona being drawn alongside AC Milan, Ajax and Celtic in the Champions League.

Speaking after missing out on UEFA's Best Player in Europe award to Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, Messi also recognised that it will be a difficult group for Barca to progress from.

"This season's group will not be easy, but we are looking forward to some good games," he said. "You don't get any easy groups, but this is a nice one. We played Milan and Celtic last season, and it is our first time against Ajax. It will be a difficult group."

Asked whether they can do better this season than last year, when crashing out embarrassingly 0-7 on aggregate in quarter-finals to Bayern Munich, the Argentine sounded confident.

"Bayern were superb last season and better than Barcelona," Messi said. "But hopefully this season we can do better. When you play for a club like Barcelona, the only option is to try and win it all."

Ribery earned the 2012-13 UEFA Best Player in Europe award, beating Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo for the award, presented following a live vote by journalists.

Ronaldo did not attend the UEFA gala and Ribery and Messi stood side by side as the winner was announced.

Ribery did not have a scoring record that matched up to Messi or Ronaldo, but his contribution was key as Bayern won an unprecendented Treble of the Champions League, Bundesliga and German cup.

Ronaldo was the highest scorer in the Champions League last season, with 12 goals while Messi scored 46 league goals for Barcelona across the campaign, helping the club win back the Primera Division title.

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