Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has hailed Lionel Messi as the ultimate big game player after the Argentine provided a match-winning performance against Atletico Madrid.
Messi scored the game’s decisive goal as Barca beat Atleti 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday evening.
The 29-year-old fired a powerful shot in off the post to double the away side’s lead after Luis Suarez’s opener, and although Antoine Griezmann headed in, Barca take a crucial advantage to the Nou Camp.
Enrique is running out of superlatives for his star player, saying, as reported by Goal: “It’s in big, special games like this that Messi shines.
“There aren’t many words left to describe him. It’s in big games that we see the best of Messi.”
Messi is enjoying one of his most prolific seasons, having scored a ridiculous 30 goals in 29 appearances across all competitions this season.
He is La Liga’s second-highest scorer with 15 goals in 17 appearances – with only team mate Suarez having outscored him so far.
His performances have been particularly impressive of late. The diminutive forward has scored six goals in the last eight games to help his side go unbeaten.
Messi’s goal against Atleti was indicative of his talent and confidence: he picked up the ball on the edge of the area and without thinking smashed an inch-perfect shot into the net via the inside of the post.
Barcelona play Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Saturday before welcoming Diego Simeone’s Atleti to the Nou Camp for the second leg on Tuesday.
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