- Lionel Messi has scored 32 goals already in all competitions so far this season
- The Barcelona forward has taken up a less offensive role in the Barcelona side
- In an interview with Pepsi, Messi admitted: ‘I have moved a bit deeper’
- The 30-year-old claimed he still plays with the intention of scoring goals
Jaime Wright For Mailonline
Lionel Messi has insisted he hasn’t lost his nose for goals despite taking up a deeper position in the Barcelona side.
With age, many forwards tend to take on more concentrated roles on the pitch to compensate for their supposed reduction in fitness.
He turned 30 last June and admitted in an exclusive interview with Pepsi that he has dropped further back this season, as opposed to the ruthless Argentine that made a name for himself by terrorising defensive lineups in the final third.
Lionel Messi has dropped further back in the Barcelona side this season in a more creative role
Messi said: ‘Yes, in the past year I have moved a bit deeper, getting to the goal from behind, unlike other years when I was more in the final third of the pitch.’
The days of the ‘false nine’ that made Messi such a dangerous assassin for Barcelona, playing as a mysterious centre forward in a 4-3-3 formation – a role he adopted under Pep Guardiola during a golden period at the Nou Camp.
Current boss Ernesto Valverde has now opted to utilise Messi in a 4-4-2 formation, used in each of Barca’s previous four matches with Messi scoring in all of them.
It has seen the 30-year-old play alongside Luis Suarez, but often drop deep on numerous occasions as well, before attempting to carry his team-mates forward and build a Barca attack.
Ernesto Valverde has sought to utilise Messi in a 4-4-2 system dropping behind Luis Suarez
The Argentine has insisted he is still ‘playing with the idea of scoring goals’ despite the change
WHERE MESSI NOW FITS IN AT BARCA
(4-4-2): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Coutinho, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez
Line up taken from La Liga fixture against Atletico Madrid on Sunday
While it’s true he has taken a step back from the ruthless forward that has been terrorising defensive lineups for almost 15 years, Messi is far from slowing down.
The Argentine’s spectacular free kick against Atletico Madrid on Sunday was his 600th professional goal and secured a vital win that should see the La Liga title remain at the Nou Camp.
Having passed the 30-goal mark and now well on his way to reaching the same tally in the league also, his new role doesn’t seem to be hindering his eye for goal.
It hasn’t come at a cost and the Barcelona star went on to claim he is fully focused on keeping up his incredible goalscoring record.
He added: ‘It’s true that I have moved a few metres back, but still with the idea of getting in the area and trying to score goals.’
Messi has scored 32 goals this season and reached the 600 mark last weekend