Lionel Messi ‘the best player of all time’, raves Luis Enrique after Barcelona’s record-breaking win

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique hailed Lionel Messi as the greatest player in the world "in every position" after the thrashing of Celtic.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts to one of his three goals Tuesday night against Celtic. Albert Gea / Reuters
Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts to one of his three goals Tuesday night against Celtic. Albert Gea / Reuters

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique hailed forward Lionel Messi as the greatest player in the world “in every position” after the Argentine scored a hat-trick to create another record in a thumping 7-0 Uefa Champions League win over Celtic.

Messi, 29, became the first player in European Cup history to score six hat-tricks as he bagged his 40th career treble for club and country in Barca’s biggest European Cup win. It was also Celtic’s heaviest ever defeat in the competition.

The five-time World Player of the Year also assisted one of Luis Suarez’s two goals as he weaved his way across the Barcelona front line.

More from the Uefa Champions League:

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• Gallery: The best pictures from Tuesday night’s matches

• Dani Alves: Can Brazilian take his European success to Juve?

“Messi plays with complete freedom and he can change his position as he wants. He’s the best in the world in every position,” Enrique said.

“If he plays as a No 9, a No 8 or a No 6, he’s the best in the world. He can judge the perfect pass from 40 yards and put the ball wherever he wants.

“He’s total football and we’d be very stupid if we imposed limits on him.

“For me, he’s the best player of all time, both for the number of goals he scores and for his footballing vision.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was also in awe of Messi and the other parts of the ruthless ‘MSN’ attacking trident of Messi, Suarez and Neymar.

“They are very special players. They have incredible movement and speed and stopping them is very difficult because they are world class,” Rodgers said.

“We tried to close down the spaces but they have so much quality and speed. They move the ball around so quickly, they are at the top of the game.”

Despite overseeing the club’s record defeat in European competition, also the heaviest defeat for any club that has won the European Cup, Rodgers tried to remain positive.

“We’re going to try and learn a lot in this Champions League campaign,” he said. “It’s no shame to lose 7-0 here.”

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Published: September 14, 2016 04:00 AM

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