Messi: my sons remind me football is not the most important thing in the world

The Barcelona star says family life helps soothe the pain of defeat, and reminds him that there are bigger priorities in life

Lionel Messi says his children have helped him learn to overcome the pain of defeat on the football pitch – because there are more important things in life.

The Barcelona icon was desperate to add a fifth Champions League title to his collection this season and was distraught at his side’s capitulation against Liverpool, before suffering further heartbreak in the Copa del Rey final against Valencia.

Messi has three sons with wife Antonella – Thiago, Mateo and Ciro – and he says that fatherhood has given him a more mature outlook on life.

“The defeats hurt but I deal with them in another way,” he told FOX Sports Argentina.

“When Thiago was born [in 2012] I understood that the priorities are different and not just the result of a game.

“It hurts a lot to lose but I get to my house and I see my children and my wife and it passes.

“Before that, I came home and I locked myself up and I did not want to watch TV and I did not eat.

“Now I have a duty to be at the table with my children. I still suffer but I handle it in another way.”