Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus’ Champions League display against Atletico Madrid as ‘magical’ and ‘impressive’.
After losing the first leg 2-0, Juve managed a 3-0 win over Diego Simeone’s side in Turin on Tuesday, inspired by a Ronaldo hat-trick.
Messi and Ronaldo steal the show: Five key things to know…
- Prior to Tuesday’s win, Ronaldo had only scored one goal for Juve in the Champions League.
- However, he bagged a hat-trick as the Old Lady overturned a 2-0 first-leg defeat, winning 3-0 in Turin.
- Messi was equally as impressive on Wednesday, scoring twice and assisting two goals as Barca beat Lyon 5-1.
- The two could potentially draw each other in the Champions League quarter-finals.
- Messi hailed Ronaldo’s performance against Atletico as ‘impressive’ and ‘magical’.
Messi had an equally golden night for Barca on Wednesday, scoring twice and assisting two goals as the Blaugrana put Lyon to the sword in a 5-1 win.
And speaking after that game, Messi was quick to praise the achievements of a player who is often seen as his biggest rival.
“What Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus did was impressive,” Messi said.
“I thought Atletico Madrid would be tougher. Ronaldo had a magical night with three goals.”
Ronaldo and Messi are the Champions League’s all-time top goalscorers, with 124 and 108 respectively, and will find out their quarter-final opponents during Friday’s draw.
Following the Lyon game, Barca manager, Ernesto Valverde, was quick to praise the ‘incredible’ performance of his talisman.
He said: “We’re all very focused on this competition and Messi is too. He played an incredible match.”
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“It’ll be tough no matter who we face”, Messi ready for ‘complicated’ quarter-final
After winning the competition in 2009 and 2011, Barcelona have managed just one further Champions League title in the last seven years and have had to watch rivals Real Madrid win four of the last five.
However, with Los Blancos being eliminated by Ajax in the round-of-16, Barca are now one of the heavy favourites to march all the way to the final.
But Messi doesn’t think it is that simple and believes any draw at this stage will be ‘complicated’ at best.
“All of the opponents are complicated,” he added.
“Ajax, for example, showed that they’re an amazing team of youngsters and they don’t fear anyone.
“It’ll be difficult no matter who we face. We have to prepare ourselves for a tough challenge.”
The draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League will take place on Friday, setting up each team’s potential routes to the Madrid final.