Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has once again described Lionel Messi’s relevance in his squad in glowing terms following the Argentina captain’s UEFA Champions League record-breaking performance in their 2-1 away win at Slavia Prague on Wednesday night, Completesports.com reports
Messi scored a 3rd minute curtain-raiser for Barcelona, while Jan Boril equalized for the Czech side in the 50th minute.
Nigerian forward, Peter Olayinka erroneously deflected Luis Suarez’s goal-ward shot into his own net in the 57th minute to gift Barcelona 2-1 lead which the out of sorts Valverde’s men defended till the end.
However, the main talking points from the Group F match have been Messi’s personal achievements recorded in the win. The Barcelona captain became the first player to score in 15 consecutive matches in Champions League history.
He also joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid legend, Raul, as the only players who have scored against 33 different opponents in the Champions League.
“He’s the player who can decide any game. Every day we see him he’s even better,” Valverde told reporters of Barca’s talismanic player Messi.
“One more record for the incredible Leo. They are easy to say, it seems natural, but it is very difficult to achieve.”
Valverde said of the away win against Slavia Prague: “These games, you have to know how to play them. We have lacked peace of mind in the opposite field. I think we had clearer chances than they did.
“You always want to rule the matches from minute one to 90. Today we had to suffer, from time to time we must suffer. There are times when you will have to go down to the mud and defend certain situations.”
Aside from Messi’s impact, Germany goalkeeper, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, also played out of his skin, between the posts, to ensure that Barcelona took home the three points.
At point in the game, Ter Stegen made world class saves to rescue Barcelona, especially a left-footed effort from Lukas Masopust which he smothered and another brilliant save on Peter Olayinka’s right-footer curler.
“We haven’t played at the level we wanted,” Ter Stegen said of match against Slavia Prague.
“Luckily, we’ve taken all three points, which is obviously the most important thing.
“But I think we need to talk about some things.
“I think that’s something we have to look at ourselves.
“I won’t say it here because it’s more internal.
“It’s not my thing. I’d like to speak to the players who were on the pitch first.”
Ter Stegen added: “On a personal level I always want to be there for the team.
“If I can help the team then all the better.”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.