MX23RW : Friday, December 14 08:32:48

Ernesto Valverde heaps praise on "extraordinary" Lionel Messi

Valverde hails
© Reuters
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde heaps praise on Lionel Messi following the striker's record-breaking eighth Champions League hat-trick in the win over PSV Eindhoven.

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has heaped further praise on Lionel Messi following the striker's hat-trick against PSV Eindhoven this afternoon.

Messi notched a record eighth Champions League treble to help his side begin their campaign with a 4-0 victory over the Dutch outfit at Camp Nou, with his first goal coming from a stunning free kick.

Valverde talked up the importance of that opening goal and believes that it was the turning point of a game which his side went on to win comfortably.

"[Messi] does extraordinary things and makes them seem routine. Today it was three goals, and he unlocked the match with his free kick. The strike was masterful and he simply doesn't tire of scoring hat-tricks," he told reporters.

"I'm satisfied with the 4-0, it's a normal result [when you look at how the match progressed]. They played well on the counter-attack and we knew it would be difficult to get the first goal.

"After the second goal we were calmer and found things easier, it's always difficult to open teams up at first."

Messi has also now scored more goals in the group stages of the Champions League than any other player.


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Philippe Coutinho in action for Barcelona on May 20, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona1594241192231
2Sevilla1584327161128
3Atletico MadridAtletico1577121101128
4Real Madrid158252319426
5AlavesAlaves157351817124
6Levante156452725222
7Real Betis156451617-122
8Getafe155641612421
9GironaGirona155641717021
10Espanyol156361720-321
11Celta Vigo155552824420
12Real Valladolid155551315-220
13Real Sociedad155461818019
14EibarEibar155461923-419
15Valencia153931212018
16Leganes154561519-417
17Villarreal153571519-414
18Athletic Bilbao152851523-814
19Rayo Vallecano152491530-1510
20Huesca1514101230-187

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