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Get Fabregas, Mascherano to keep Barca top: Messi
Barcelona (Spain) Jul 9 (Agencies):
Published on 9 Jul. 2009 11:44 PM IST
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Leo Messi has urged Barcelona to snap up Cesc Fabregas and Javier Mascherano to retain their European crown. The diminutive Argentinian, who scored against Manchester United in the Champions League Final, believes Barca must draft in even more quality if they want to keep their position at the summit of club football. That is bad news for Liverpool and Arsenal, both of whom are battling to hold on to their key men. Messi said: “I hope Mascherano can come and we can form a solid partnership. His qualities are always appreciated. “The same goes for Fabregas. A good footballer like him who can contribute is always welcome.” Barcelona clinched a brilliant league, cup and Champions League Treble with victory in Rome and have been linked with both Fabregas and Mascherano since the end of the season. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger remains convinced he will hold on to Fabregas, despite suggestions Barca are willing to pay £35million to pair him with Xavi in midfield, with Andres Iniesta switching to the left. But there are genuine concerns at Liverpool that Mascherano’s head has been turned and that he is desperate to join Barcelona. Nou Camp chief Pep Guardiola and the club’s technical secretary Txiki Begiristain are interested in both players but are believed to be able to afford only one of them. And while Anfield boss Rafa Benitez has maintained Mascherano is going nowhere, the player’s agent Walter Tamer has suggested otherwise. Mascherano is unlikely to make any waves as Barca have yet to make a firm move. But it is believed the Catalans have already spoken to Tamer and that a substantial offer is on its way to Liverpool for the 25-year-old. They are prepared to pay Mascherano £80,000 a week - three times more than he picks up at Anfield. Messi believes that in order to fend off a revamped Real Madrid - who have recruited Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema - Barca have to confirm the widely-held belief that Mascherano will be their holding midfielder next year or that Fabregas will bring another attacking option. He added: “We were spectacular last season and we hope this time we will be able to do the same or at least a little of what we achieved. “We were surprised by what we did last season but if players such as those mentioned in the press arrive at the club to strengthen the team it would be even better. It’s important to be stronger.” Despite the new wave of Galacticos at their La Liga rivals, Messi remains convinced a more settled Barca will once again prove the more successful Spanish side. He went on: “I am Barcelona and I worry only about my team. Kaka has a lot of quality but he will have to adapt himself. I can also talk about Iniesta. Training with him is the best. But both Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka are fantastic players who will give Madrid a lot of strength. “El Classico is going to be unbelievable when it comes time to play and yes, Barcelona will win again.”

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