Messi: I had problems in 2014

The 27-year-old had a frustrating year in 2014 as Barcelona were unable to win a trophy and Argentina were beaten in the World Cup final by Germany.

He was also the subject of a tax investigation case and there were rumours that he could leave Barca after reportedly falling out with head coach Luis Enrique.

“The truth is that this year I tried to get to my best form as quickly as possible,” Messi told Mundo Leo. ???I knew I was coming off the back of a not very good year, during which I went through a lot of problems on and off the field.

“It was a challenge to change the image that I had given out last season and to be the player I had been in previous seasons again. That was my objective and that’s how I came out at the start of this season, really up for it.”

Both Messi and Barca have returned to top form in recent months and have won their last 11 games in all competitions.

They have closed the gap to Real Madrid at the top of La Liga to one point and face a Champions League last-16 clash against Manchester City next week.

???We’re in good shape at the moment,??? said Messi. ???Luckily, after the match against Real Sociedad [a 1-0 loss], where we didn’t start the year very well, everything changed.

???Now there is a different dynamic to the team, everything we do comes off. The team has a lot of confidence and we’re changed the attitude and drive. That’s why we’re playing like we are at the moment, but there is still a long way to go.”

???We still haven’t won anything yet. There are many months of competition left in the league and in Europe. And we have to try and reach the cup final as well. We have to carry on as we are to reach our goals.”

Barca beat Man City 4-1 on aggregrate in the Champions League last year but Messi is expecting a tough test.

???They are a team made up of great players, so it will be a difficult tie,??? he said. ???Their objective is to go through because they haven’t done for a while.

???It will be an even match-up and the little details will be what makes the difference. It will be a great game, and City have reinforced a lot (since last season).”