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Lionel Messi: Barcelona may benefit from pause in play

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Lionel Messi and Co. tear it up at Barca training (1:02)

Barcelona's full squad takes to the training field as they prepare for the return of La Liga. (1:02)

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi said that the stoppage in play due to the coronavirus pandemic may help the club address some of its issues on the pitch.

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Speaking to Spanish outlet Sport, the Argentina captain said: "Maybe this stoppage will end up benefiting us, but let's see if the competitions we're in can get started again first. Then we will be able to see the level we are at of how far we can go once we get started again."

Barcelona remain on top of La Liga standings, two points ahead of Real Madrid. La Liga is working to the re-start on June 12 but still must navigate many obstacles to get agreement from Spanish authorities.

Despite being league leaders, Barcelona faced a dip in form prior to the shutdown. Messi slammed the Barca side in its current state, saying it was not good enough to compete for the Champions League title after their a 2-0 Clasico loss to Real Madrid on March 1.

Messi clarified his statements in Thursday's interview by saying he doesn't doubt the potential of his teammates should play resume.

"What I said was playing as we did in those final few games before football was suspended, of course we wouldn't win the Champions League," Messi said. "I never doubted the squad we have and I don't doubt we can win everything that's left, just not playing as we were playing."

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If Champions League play does return, Barcelona go into their last-16 second-leg match against Italian side Napoli tied at 1-1.

"Everyone has their own opinion and all opinions are respected. Mine is based on being lucky enough to play in the Champions League for many years and I know it's not possible to win it playing as we were playing," Messi said.

On his conditioning, Messi said he feels good and that he enjoyed spending more time with his family during the lockdown. He and his Barca teammates returning to individual training this week in anticipation of a return.

"I was training at home during the lockdown and I think that helped me keep in shape, although training at home is not the same as being at the training ground with the coaching staff taking sessions," said Messi. "Obviously it was tough psychologically for everyone because it's a strange situation.

"But with the support of my family, from my wife and kids at home, I think we managed the situation in the best way possible. We took advantage of the time to do a lot of things together that we can't normally do, because the kids are at school and we also have our obligations.

"So we had a good time together and have been able to enjoy it with the kids, who are growing up so quickly. It was tough but with them and [wife] Antonela we created moments to enjoy as a family together."