Messi and PSG: Barcelona forward ‘hopes’ rivals retain treble

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Leo Messi believes Paris St-Germain will win the UCL for the third year in a row Lionel Messi has said he “hopes” Paris St-Germain can add to their…

Messi and PSG: Barcelona forward 'hopes' rivals retain treble

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Leo Messi believes Paris St-Germain will win the UCL for the third year in a row

Lionel Messi has said he “hopes” Paris St-Germain can add to their treble-winning season in the Champions League next year.

Coach Thomas Tuchel signed a five-year contract in the summer, extending his stay at the French club by two years.

Messi, 30, said: “PSG are a fantastic team with a great coach.”

Tuchel’s side remain on track to retain the French title, going 11 points clear with four games remaining.

They are also chasing a third consecutive French Cup and Uefa Cup, a feat currently held by the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

“The domestic cup is the best for us and we have a very good chance of winning it,” added Barca forward Messi.

“We also want to win the Champions League and Uefa Cup. There’s no reason why we can’t do that. PSG are very good and if you look at this year they have won three titles.”

When PSG completed their treble last season, club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said it was a “dream come true” for him and the club’s millions of supporters.

But former Barca striker Luis Suarez has suggested that reaching the European Cup Final on 18 May would be a more realistic target.

Barca and PSG have met in the last three editions of the Champions League, with the Spaniards lifting the trophy in 2014 and 2016.

PSG are still to play Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey, the last 32 of the Champions League, and the final of the League Cup.

Luis Enrique and the Barcelona players have said they will focus on the Copa del Rey and La Liga this season – and the Spain striker told El Pais: “We have to accept that we are not going to win the Champions League this year, but it won’t be the end of the world.”

What next for Uefa Cup holders Sevilla?

Image copyright AFP Image caption Luis Suarez, Jorge Sampaoli and Sevilla’s board member Juan Munoz have all left the club

Sevilla have confirmed that former Argentina international Jorge Sampaoli, who guided them to last season’s Uefa Cup final in his first spell in charge, will leave at the end of the season.

He has been replaced on a permanent basis by former Wigan manager and current Barcelona assistant Juan Carlos Unzue, who will work alongside his Spanish international counterpart Eduardo Berizzo.

“Having Jorge as a coach will help us to increase our chances,” said Sampaoli, who is a free agent.

The Andalusian side, joint top of La Liga with Barcelona after eight games of the season, face North London side Tottenham in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Sevilla’s victory over PSG in the Uefa Cup final helped them to a fourth-place finish in La Liga last season and a place in the Champions League – although they failed to advance to the group stage this term.

“We’re not going to win everything, but we are going to keep pushing,” said Sampaoli.

“I am confident we will do better in the Champions League, because we can become better tactically, and in terms of defending. With this team I know we can go far.”

What will next season be like for Barcelona?

Image copyright CEN Image caption Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu will soon announce the club’s new manager

Barca are third in La Liga behind second-placed Real Madrid and Valencia with the first phase of the league having finished after the weekend.

In April, the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu said he wanted to replace head coach Ernesto Valverde after two years in charge.

Barca are also playing in the Champions League’s quarter-finals, where they are up against Atletico Madrid.

“I think that the rest of the season we will not gain significantly in the Champions League but in La Liga we are going to do very well, in cup competitions and the second part of the Champions League,” Valverde told El Diario.

“There is a lot to do but we will try to achieve a good performance in the second part of the season.”

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