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Lionel Messi Admits Barcelona Treble Regret in Andres Iniesta's Final Campaign

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2018

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates with Andres Iniesta scoring his side's first goal during a Champions League round of sixteen first leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has said he is disappointed the team couldn't win the treble in Andres Iniesta's final year at the club.

The Blaugrana clinched the Copa del Rey last weekend and wrapped up La Liga on Sunday with a 4-2 victory at Deportivo La Coruna. It means the UEFA Champions League is the only major honour that's escaped them, having been knocked out by Roma in the quarter-finals.

Speaking after the win over Deportivo, in which he scored a hat-trick, the Argentinian said there was some regret at letting the European trophy slip.

"Iniesta? It's a shame about Andres," said Messi, per Football Espana. "It's a shame for us too, but he deserves to bow out like this. We have regrets about the Champions League and him not leaving with a treble, but I still think he's leaving in an impressive manner."

Lalo R. Villar/Associated Press

The 30-year-old added that he feels as though Barca have "been very superior to our rivals." "We practically didn't lose a game, one in the Copa and, unfortunately, in the Champions League, which was unexpected because of how it came about," he added.

Messi and Iniesta both spoke about their ninth league titles, per the Barcelona Twitter account:

FC Barcelona πŸ†πŸ† @FCBarcelona

πŸ—£ Leo #Messi, Sergio and @andresiniesta8 reflect on our @LaLiga title success! πŸ† #7heChamp10ns https://t.co/1IcRds9ttE

The title triumph continued the recent stranglehold Barca have had on Spanish football in the era of Messi and Iniesta, as we can see here:

B/R Football @brfootball

Seven titles in ten years. The Barcelona Dynasty. https://t.co/OtZ3GkXNv8

While the 3-0 loss in Rome was unexpected, overall 2017-18 has been a season to remember for the team and Messi in particular.Β 

With Neymar departed in the summer and big-money signing Ousmane Dembele injured for the early part of the campaign, there was pressure on Messi to perform. He's relished it.

As we can see courtesy of WhoScored.com, his ability to score goals while being a source of creativity is still remarkable:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Top goalscorers in Europe's top five leagues this season: πŸ₯‡ Lionel Messi - 32 goals and 4 games left πŸ₯ˆ Mohamed Salah - 31 goals and 2 games left πŸ₯‰ Ciro Immobile - 29 goals and 4 games left

Iniesta has remained a key part of the Barcelona side this season, although there are only four more matches for him to play in the club's iconic colours.

The influence he has had on so many at Barca and across Spain has been evident since he confirmed he would be leaving. After being applauded off the field by all supporters against Sevilla last week, he received a similar ovation at the Riazor on Sunday.

Per Squawka Football, together Messi and Iniesta have helped Barcelona dominate Spanish and European football:

Squawka Football @Squawka

AndrΓ©s Iniesta and Lionel Messi won 32 trophies together at Barcelona. πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ† End of an era. https://t.co/vQlOhoAg00

Messi and the rest of the team still have some big days to come before the end of the season. Next weekend they meet rivals Real Madrid in what should be a fascinating Clasico at the Camp Nou. Barcelona are also on course to become the first team to go through a La Liga season unbeaten.

The treble may have been beyond even Messi and Iniesta. But for the latter, a pair of trophies, two wins over Real Madrid and a season of domestic invincibility would be a fine way to finish.

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