Messi unfazed by pressure

Lionel Messi denies he is feeling any pressure heading into Barcelona’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Shakhtar Donetsk.The Argentinean ace is looking to add to his phenomenal tally of 45 goals this season in Wednesday’s match at the Nou Camp, after being held goalless in his last four games.

But the 23-year-old denies he is losing any sleep as he aims to break Brazilian legend Ronaldo’s club record of 47, set in 1996-97.

“I am not worried about not scoring recently,” Messi said. “I hope I can score tomorrow to help the team and carry on scoring, but it isn’t something that worries me.”

“If I can score, fine. If not, it’s OK. I’m not worried, but it would be a great record to have if I could overtake Ronaldo.”

More pressing is the issue of overcoming a Shakhtar side that has enjoyed some success against the Catalan giants in recent years, beating them 3-2 at the Nou Camp in the 2008-09 tournament group stage and almost taking them to penalties in the 2009 UEFA Super Cup.

But again, Messi is not weighed down by any thoughts of failure.

“I don’t think we feel under pressure at this stage,” he said.

“I don’t know what result would be good. We want to play a good match and win. The return leg depends on tomorrow’s game but the important thing is to win.”

“We never think of drawing matches because we always play to win. The fans are always there for us, especially in the Champions League, so I know they won’t fail.”

“It’ll be a very even match as usual against Shakhtar. I hope we can gain an advantage to feel more relaxed over there (in the second leg). I know they are strong; they produce good performances like in the Super Cup.”

“They play good football, they have great players and we have faced them several times.”