To many corners of the football world, Lionel Messi is a figure of near perfection.
Barcelona‘s iconic No10 has broken just about every metric record there is to surpass and has filled his cabinet with practically every trophy on offer.
Lauded as the greatest of all time, the 30-year-old is evolving his game as he enters the next phase of his career, adopting the role of both playmaker and goalscorer for the Catalan giants this season.
However, the Argentine maestro humbly believes he is far from perfect with his struggles from the penalty spot one area he’s singled out for improvement.
Speaking to Russian outlet Blic Sport, he said: “I want to be perfect and yet there are some parts of game I have to improve to reach the maximum level.
“Which part? Penalties, I have to practice them more.”
While still very much at the peak of his powers, attention will no doubt turn towards life beyond the pitch as Messi turns 31 this year.
However, he’s ruled out swapping his Barca strip for a managerial suit once his playing career draws to a close.
“I will probably not be a coach after I retire, but there is enough time, I can still change my mind,” he added.
“At home we rarely speak about football, it has to be something special around Barcelona or Argentina to open discuss about football during family lunch.”
And it seems the family life narrative is something which Messi is most proud of as he continued: “Being a parent is an incredible feeling. A huge change, in every way. I’m looking at some things from a completely different angle now.
The role of the father is the most beautiful thing that has happened to me in my life. Indescribable.
“I’m a person like everyone else. I lead a completely normal life with my family. Okay, I wish sometimes that I’m not so familiar and that I can walk freely.”
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Philippe Coutinho has played his last game for Liverpool as Spanish outlet Sport have claimed a switch to Barcelona is “very, very close”.
The 25-year-old wasn’t in the squad for the Red’s 2-1 win over Burnley on New Year’s Day and is said to be reluctant to play so to avoid picking up an injury ahead of a move to Camp Nou.
The rhetoric regarding Coutinho is changing every day with reports in England suggesting Liverpool will sell at £130million and outlets in Spain claiming the deal is all-but completed.
Barca are said to be increasingly confident of getting a deal over the line in January and at this point it’s probably in the best interests of all parties to have it completed as soon as possible. Another protracted transfer between Liverpool and the Catalan giants appears to be reaching its end.
Manchester United target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has ruled out leaving Lazio.
The Serbia international is one of the most in-demand young midfielders in Europe with the Red Devils said to be planning a £95million offer.
However, speaking to Novosti he said: “I don’t think about leaving Lazio, because I’m very happy in Rome.”
The 22-year-old forms the fulcrum of Simone Inzaghi’s side having scored five goals in 17 Serie A appearances and with Lazio pushing for a Champions League spot it seems the likes of United and Paris Saint-Germain will be forced to bide their time.
Barcelona forward Arda Turan has been offered to AC Milan and Everton, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The Turkey international is well out of favour at Cam Nou and is yet to make a single appearance this season.
Besiktas are also said to be interested in signing the 30-year-old who will be desperate to get some first-team football back under his belt.
The winger’s agent has been speaking to clubs around Europe but it remains to be seen as to which club will bite.
England international Lingard reached double figures for the season by crashing home his seventh goal in nine games to cap a 2-0 victory over Everton on New Year’s Day.
Among United’s players only Romelu Lukaku has scored more times this term than Lingard, who managed just a single goal in the Premier League last campaign but has flourished over the past five weeks.
His unstoppable attempt against the Toffees, which was blasted beyond Jordan Pickford, was indicative of a man brimming with confidence and colleague Herrera wants Lingard to carry on trying his luck.
“It’s fantastic – when you are like that he has to keep trying to shoot, shoot, shoot,” the Spaniard said.
“I am not in that moment! I shot three times and I didn’t score but I will keep looking for that moment.
“Jesse has it now. He has to keep trying to shoot but the movements he does for the team are also amazing.
“He’s very quick at the moment as well. No one can catch him. We are happy for him.
“He wants to improve, he wants to be a fantastic player. You can see in every training session and he’s showing it in the games.”
Herrera was also impressed by the United players able to thrive in unfamiliar positions at Goodison Park, where a 2-0 victory for the visitors ended a four-game winless streak over the Christmas period.
Without injured pair Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial was switched inside from his usual wing position while central defender Victor Lindelof filled in at right-back.
“I think Anthony was fantastic as well,” Herrera added.
“He hasn’t played as a striker for a long time and he did fantastic. Juan (Mata), also as a midfielder coming to help us, Victor, out of position, did amazing. They are very good things we can take out of the game.”
The victory moved United back into second, although the gap to leaders Manchester City remains enormous.
Yet Herrera is concerned with ensuring United maintain their spot as City’s nearest challengers as fourth-placed Liverpool, who are now unbeaten in 16 games, and Chelsea are also firmly in the hunt.
“I think we played a fantastic game and we can be very happy,” Herrera said of the Everton performance.
“This is the way we have to face every game, it’s going to be a very tough battle to try to keep the second place. We will go for it.”
Provided by Press Association Sport