Cyprus Mail
Champions League

Valverde hails ‘incredible’ Messi

Lionel Messi scored in his 700th match for Barcelona and also set up goals for Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann as the Catalans beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to seal a spot in the Champions League knockout stages

Head coach Ernesto Valverde hailed Lionel Messi as incredible after the Argentinian marked his 700th appearance for Barcelona with his 613th goal for the club.

Messi also provided two assists and was booked for diving as Barca beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

England forward Jadon Sancho scored a consolation for the visitors, who remain level on points with Inter Milan ahead of the final round of group games.

Dortmund are at home to Slavia Prague on December 10 with Inter Milan welcoming Barcelona to the San Siro.

Messi set up Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann either side of his own goal and Valverde expects Messi’s relationship with Griezmann can only improve.

“A lot is said about their connection, especially when one of them scores,” Valverde told a post-match press conference in quotes reported by Marca. “Good players always understand each other.

“For example, Luis (Suarez) and Leo understand each other to perfection because they’ve spent a long time playing together. Messi and Griezmann will understand each other better with time.

“We have to find the right timing for this. With time, it will be much better. What can I say about Messi, he was incredible.”

Speaking about winning Group F, Valverde added: “We’re in the most difficult group in the competition and we’ve qualified with a game to spare for another year.

“We’ve suffered a lot, but it means a lot to us. Apart from the last few minutes, the team played a great game.”

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