The Argentine attacker was beaten to the Fifa Ballon d’Or last year by his Real Madrid rival after winning the prestigious individual award in the four years previously, as he struggled to find his best form.
However, Mathieu has insisted Messi is on the way back again and wants to be the best in the world once again.
“I played against Messi for five years and it was hugely complicated to stop him,” Mathieu told Le 10 Sport.
“But things were different last season. It was less hard to mark him. He didn’t seem as fresh as before. It has always been hard to take the ball off him, because he always has that one move to make the difference, but that was less so last term.
“There has definitely been a small drop last season, but that’s only human when you have won it all.
“But he is hungry for titles again after Barcelona didn’t win anything last year. Messi has the desire to win titles again and to be the best player in the world once more. He is out for revenge.”
Messi has netted 11 goals in 14 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona so far in 2014-15.
The attacker scored twice against Ajax on Wednesday’s to equal Raul’s Champions League goal scoring record of 71.
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