Beaten Celtic boss mar­vels at Messi class in Glas­gow

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International -

GLAS­GOW / Celtic coach Bren­dan Rodgers hailed Barcelona’s Lionel Messi as prob­a­bly the great­est player ever af­ter the Ar­gen­tine ma­gi­cian put the Scot­tish cham­pi­ons to the sword again with both goals in a 2-0 win on Wed­nes­day.

Messi, re­turn­ing to the team af­ter ill­ness, proved the dif­fer­ence as Barca com­fort­ably took their place in the last 16 of Europe’s premier club com­pe­ti­tion.

Asked if his side would have won had Messi been play­ing for Celtic, a smil­ing Rodgers said: “We would have had a big chance, there’s no doubt about that.

“He’s ar­guably the best player that’s ever played foot­ball, and when he plays in your team, he makes ev­ery­one else bet­ter. So if he’s play­ing for Celtic tonight, no doubt he makes us all bet­ter,” Rodgers added.

Messi, yet again, was the star of the show. He scored both goals, cre­ated chances for oth­ers, and capped a vir­tu­oso per­for­mance with a mes­meris­ing mata­dor-like feint that bam­boo­zled Celtic cap­tain Scott Brown in the clos­ing min­utes.

Messi missed his side’s goal­less draw against Malaga on Satur­day with a sick­ness bug, but was back to his tor­ment­ing best just as he had been when scor­ing a hat-trick in Barca’s 7-0 win over Celtic at the Nou Camp two months ago.

The brace took Messi’s Cham­pi­ons League to­tal to 92 goals, in­clud­ing nine in this sea­son’s group stages, and though he nar­rowly missed a hat-trick, his ge­nius en­sured Celtic ex­ited all Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion while Barca progress to the last 16 as group win­ners.

Celtic Park on Cham­pi­ons League nights pro­vides one of the best at­mos­pheres in world foot­ball, but Messi’s goals si­lenced the pas­sion­ate 60,000 crowd.

“Messi, at this level, was de­ci­sive.” Barcelona coach Luis En­rique said.


Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Celtic man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers shake hands af­ter the game .

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