8th March, 2012
The performance of Argentina star, Lionel Messi in yesterday’s UEFA Champions League match between champions Barcelona of Spain and Bayer Leverkusen has continued to generate interest and reactions from stakeholders in world football.
The conclusion of coaches and players who spoke of the current World Best Footballer after 7-1 drubbing of the German club is that Messi is best player ever.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola described his striker as “the best ever” after his five-goal haul against Leverkusen last night at Nou Camp in Spain.
Messi, 24, moved to within seven of the total recorded by the club’s all-time record scorer Cesar Rodriguez as he led Barca to a 10-2 aggregate win.
“He’s the best ever, there is no other like him,’’ Guardiola said. The numbers speak for themselves. One day he’ll score six. We’ll never see a player like him again.’’
The Spaniard added: “We witnessed one of Messi’s special nights tonight, it’s a gift and I will always be able to say that I coached him.
“The only credit I can take is that I always put him in the team and we just try to make sure he gets the ball. After that our task is done. The throne belongs to him and only he will decide when he wants to relinquish it.”
Messi has scored 186 goals in his last 201 Barcelona appearances, including strikes in both the 2009 and 2011 Champions League final wins over Manchester United, and Guardiola admits that he is lucky to have him.
“We’re very fortunate to have Messi, so we have to take advantage of him,” he added.
Manchester United striker, Wayne Rooney tweeted: “Messi is a joke. For me the best ever”. ITV pundits Graeme Souness, Ruud Gullit and Terry Venables also agreed that Messi was world football’s best player of all time – at the age of just 24.
And England legend Gary Lineker added: “He plays a game with which we are not familiar.”
Liverpool hero Terry McDermott tweeted: “I played in a great LFC team of the late 70s and early 80s which ruled Europe but I must say I think this Barcelona team would batter us.”
The stars’ tributes to Messi kept on coming via the micro-blogging site:
Rio Ferdinand: “Messi doesn’t look interested tonight…!”
Jack Wilshere: “It’s a pleasure to watch this guy.”
Michael Owen: “Not old enough to see some of the greats but I can’t believe anyone can have played the game of football as well as Messi.”
Steven Pienaar: “Barca are out of this world. Messi best player in the world.”
Nicklas Bendtner: “Messi is too good to be real.