Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Ernesto Valverde heaps praise on 'extraordinary' Lionel Messi

Ernesto Valverde heaps praise on 'extraordinary' Lionel Messi

Here's to lots more Messi magic in the Champions League this season.

Messi is the king of the Group Stages after becoming the first player in Champions League history to score eight hat-tricks in the competition, but he must now deliver this sort of performance in the latter stages of the tournament if Barca are to triumph this season.

Lionel Messi scored a marvellous hat-trick as Barcelona got their Champions League campaign up and running with a 4-0 win over PSV at Camp Nou.

Barca had struggled for the opening half hour, but a vintage Messi free-kick broke the deadlock and, after a wonderful individual effort from Ousmane Dembele, he scored twice in the final 13 minutes, which also saw Samuel Umtiti sent off.

Going into tonight's game, Messi was tied with Ronaldo on seven UCL hat-tricks but he's moved ahead after doing the business tonight.

He said: "There's not only Messi in this Barcelona".

With the score still goalless in Milan when Messi curled in his freekick, it means the Argentine was the one to get scoring underway in the competition.

But Barca's second did eventually come in similarly superb style.

Samuel Umtiti will be unavailable for Barcelona in their next Champions League match against Tottenham in London on October 3, after picking up a pair of yellow cards in the match and being sent off. But Mauro Icardi equalised with a perfectly struck volley in the 86th and Matias Vecino headed in the victor in injury time to send the San Siro wild.

"When he stops playing it will be hard to find someone like him".

Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic came off the bench to grab a late victor in a 1-0 victory at Club Brugge.

Schalke marked their return to the competition after a three-year absence with a 1-1 draw at home to Porto.

Meanwhile, Garry Rodrigues and Eren Derdiyok netted, and Selcuk Inan scored a penalty, as Galatasaray beat Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0 in Istanbul.

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