Barcelona ace Lionel Messi admits he loves Italian football.

After last night's friendly against Fiorentina, Messi said: "Italian football has always fascinated me, it's always a pleasure to play here in the country where Maradona has inspired with his play."

Asked about Barca's insistence that he not join Argentina's Olympics campaign, Messi added: "I would like to participate in this competition because I know that is a one-off, but my thoughts turn also to the needs of Barcelona."