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‘Hat-trick vs Brazil special’

Calcutta: Lionel Messi said his hat-trick against Brazil in a friendly in June last year was extra special.

Messi set an all-time record for most goals — 91 — scored in a calendar year. Speaking about his performances, he said: “I think it was a good year overall. Although I would have liked to have won more with my club, I think it turned out to be a positive year with the Argentina team. That meant a lot to us all and that’s what I’d highlight: the national team having a great year after things not having gone well for such a long time.

“The goals are all special… But, in the way they came about and who they were against, regardless of the fact it was a friendly, those three goals (against Brazil) were extra-special,” Messi told Fifa.com.

Speaking further about his stellar show, he said: “I’m just trying to do my job… There isn’t time to sit and think about what you’ve been doing because everything happens so fast: as soon as one thing finishes another begins. On a personal note, I think it won’t be until after I’ve retired that I’m fully aware of what I’ve done or what I’ve gone on to achieve in my career.”

Asked whether he has changed over the years, Messi said: “Loads of things have changed… Obviously, I’ve grown up both as a player and a person. I’ve become more mature, my personality has developed and my career has taken shape.”

Talking about the ongoing season, Messi said: “We’re aware that there’s a long way to go. Our La Liga hopes are in our hands thanks to the lead we’ve got, but we can’t afford to relax.”

Messi said that Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova have similar methods of preparing for the matches.

“What’s changed is that Guardiola and Tito have different personalities and different ways of handling the squad. They’ve each got their own ideas, but when it comes to playing and training, we’re doing the same things we’ve been doing for the past four years. The way we work and prepare for games is the same.”

At present, Messi’s number one priority is taking care of his son Thiago. “My son is now my number one priority. It’s been a very nice and very big change and we’ll always put him first. I also wish for Eric Abidal and Tito to get well.”