Valverde delighted with Messi show

Valverde delighted with Messi show

January 22, 2018 Off By Sports Writer

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has spoken about Lionel Messi’s masterclass against Real Betis on Sunday evening.

Messi, who has been in excellent form this season, continued in that same vein, scoring an impressive brace against Quique Setien’s Betis, who pushed the Catalan side for large parts of the game.

Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring after a scoreless first half, before Luis Suarez (2) and Messi (2) also grabbed goals.

And, Barca boss Valverde has heaped praise on the Argentine forward for his performance, which has further enhanced the club’s lead at the top of the La Liga table.

“Messi I won’t start applauding his moves because I’m the Coach, but what Messi did here… he put on a show, ” he told reporters.

“I hope everyone enjoyed it, whichever team they support. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen. It’s a pleasure to have him here.”

Barca, who lead second placed Atletico Madrid by 11 points, Valencia in third by 14 and fourth placed Real Madrid by 19; are running away with the title and Valverde was forced to answer questions on whether he thought the title race had turned ‘boring’.

“League boring? Not for us. Our objective is to win the maximum number of matches possible and not speculate.

“There are 18 games left, and every game we win makes our lead that bit bigger because we’re in the second round and there’s less left of the season.

“The best quality of my team is that we’re very committed to what we’re doing, sticking together for the good and bad.

“If we have to take a step up, we’ll do it, and the same applies if we have to take one back.”

Barca return to training on Monday morning, preparing to face Espanyol in the Copa del Rey on Thursday, hoping to overturn a 1-0 first leg defeat, which was their only defeat in all competitions this season.

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Brazilian play-maker Philippe Coutinho could make his debut in the game, although it is thought he will wait until the home fixture against Alaves at the weekend.