Valverde hails Messi impact


Ernesto Valverde has hailed the impact of hat-trick hero Lionel Messi during Barcelona's 4-1 victory over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Barcelona bounced back from last weekend’s surprise defeat at Levante with a convincing victory at the Camp Nou, although the result was only made so comfortable thanks to the individual brilliance of Messi.

The Argentina international opened the scoring from the penalty spot and, after Lucas Olaza drew Celta level, he went on to convert two free kicks to take the game beyond the visitors, while Sergio Busquets added a fourth late on.

It is the 34th hat-trick Messi has scored in La Liga, equalling the record of his long-term rival Cristiano Ronaldo, but it was his free-kick heroics that Valverde was particularly keen to praise after the match.

“With Leo, anything is possible,” Valverde told reporters. “This (taking free-kicks) is something that he has mastered to perfection.

“Because of this, the opponent can’t commit fouls on the edge of their own box. If they do, we try to take advantage.

“Messi, apart from scoring goals, has a commitment to the game.”

Valverde also praised his side for bouncing back from their defeat last weekend, with Barca now heading into the international break sitting top of the standings, albeit only on goal difference from Real Madrid.

“After losing, it’s nice to win. Even more so in a team like ours,” Valverde added. “We had a damaging defeat the other day and we needed a win tonight.”