The La Liga giants intend to be back in the mix for major honours during the 2017-18 campaign, with their mercurial Argentine providing inspiration
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has branded Lionel Messi “extraordinary” as those at Camp Nou set their sights on “all the titles” in 2017-18.
The Catalan giants have enjoyed a productive pre-season as they prepare to open another new era.
Neymar, Coutinho & Mbappe all to leave – 7/4
Valverde has replaced Luis Enrique at the helm, while additions to the playing staff have been made and Brazilian forward Neymar continues to spark talk of a big-money exit to Paris Saint-Germain.
He starred in a 3-2 Clasico victory over Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup on Saturday, but so did Messi and Barca are still looking to their mercurial Argentine for inspiration.
Valverde told reporters after tasting a derby win in Miami: “It was hard because of the heat, we made a good start, generated some good opportunities. Overall, we did well trying to dominate the match.
Messi and Suarez meet Tiger Woods
“I expect the best from Messi and all the players but he is extraordinary and we are aiming to win all the titles this season.”
Valverde was also pressed once again on the future of Neymar.
PSG are reportedly ready to trigger his €222 million release clause, but he remains on Barca’s books for now and the La Liga title hopefuls are reluctant to part with his services.
Valverde added: “I always try to talk about things that happen rather than things that might happen.
“We are going to wait. From my perspective, we have Neymar in our team, we count on him and we have to see.
Neymar hangs out with Mayweather
“I don't want to speculate about Neymar. I see him in the same place I have seen him recently – on the pitch with us.”
Neymar will not be returning to Spain with his Barca colleagues as he has contractual obligations to fulfil in China.
Exit talk will likely rumble on throughout his time in Asia and until either a move is made or the summer deadline passes.