Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde and Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone have praised Lionel Messi ahead of Saturday night’s meeting between the two sides.
In arguably the biggest league game of the season so far, Barca and Atleti will meet on Saturday at the new Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid.
The game will feature some of world football’s most talented players with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Andres Iniesta playing, whilst Leo Messi will also catch the eye.
And, following his impressive hat-trick to help Argentina qualify for the next summer’s World Cup in Russia in mid-week; both Valverde and Simeone have praised the forward.
“We’re talking about a unique player, like Messi. We’ll see if Messi can rest more as the season progresses. He’s fine and I think it’s right that he keeps playing,” said Valverde.
“I want all my players to be at the World Cup. The playoffs would’ve been a problem because we could’ve lost Messi and Mascherano
“Messi’s best quality is his constant competitiveness and sense of responsibility. He wants to play every game and bears the burden of being the best in the world.”
Simeone added: “Messi was what all Argentines wanted and asked for,” Simeone told his pre-match press conference.
“I watched the entire match and he answered those critics who did not believe in him, he proved that he is the best in the world.”
Familiar to Barca’s struggles following an international break over recent seasons, Valverde discussed the potential of Atleti and in particular Griezmann.
“After the international break, we know Atletico’s strength and that helps us in terms of focus. I hope we give a good account of ourselves.
“I guess the Argentines will appreciate what Messi did, which is what he always does here.
“Suarez is feeling good, in perfect condition. He scored two goals for Uruguay the other day and he’s not going to stop.”
Simeone also touched on the Wanda Metropolitano pitch after claims in Catalan media that the groundsman had allowed the grass to grow in a bid to stop Barca playing their usual passing game.
“I’m not the groundskeeper, I’m the Coach,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“When you invite me to your home I use your tablecloth, dishes and glasses, and when I invite you to my home, I invite you with my tablecloth, plates and glasses.
“When I go to your house, I don’t choose the dish I want but rather the one I’m given. That’s why one plays as the home team and another play as the away.”
Elsewhere, Real Madrid beat Getafe 2-1 and Sevilla were unable to maintain their impressive start to the season, losing 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao.