New Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has said Lionel Messi remains an integral part of the club's plans and hopes the Argentine superstar regains his best form under the new managerial regime.
Enrique, a former Barcelona player, was appointed coach in succession to Tata Martino earlier this week, and told reporters that he plans to build a new team, one which is capable of emulating the glorious feats achieved under Pep Guardiola.
Although Messi has been below-par this season, and some have speculated that he may leave the Camp Nou this summer, Enrique insists he is very much part of the new project.
The new coach told reporters: "It's obvious that Lionel Messi's effectiveness hasn't been the same this season, but he continues to be our No.1
"Once people get used to 700,000 goals, you score 100,000 goals and it seem too few. [But] he'll continue being a point of reference for the team, and I hope that with me he will find the best of himself."
Enrique also talked of "building a new Barca, a Barca that will be back to the centre of attention and that will achieve everything we look forward to."
Barca dispensed with Martino after a season which was written off as a disaster, even though they were only one goal away from winning the title on the final day.
However their failure to meet Atletico Madrid in the final game of the season meant that their opponents, who also knocked them out of the Champions League, claimed the title instead.
Enrique played for both Barca and Real Madrid during his career, and was an integral part of the Spain team during the 1990s.