Mauricio Pochettino believes goalkeeper Hugo Lloris - and not a Lionel Messi masterclass - was responsible for Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League defeat to Barcelona.
Messi produced a sublime performance as Barcelona beat Spurs 4-2 at Wembley, playing the defence-splitting passes for the opening two goals before scoring twice himself, while also hitting the post twice. "Bottom corner. There was a similar goal he scored in the Premier League as well".
And, in case you are wondering, Messi has scored 562 goals in 647 games for Barcelona, with 105 in the Champions League. I'm always very happy when I see him'.
Spurs were humbled by stunning goals from Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic and two from the irrepressible Messi. Then Davinson Sanchez's cheap giveaway led to Coutinho keeping the ball in play as Rakitic hammered home a stupendous volley which will live long in the memory.
'The Champions League is the dessert for everyone, but to get it you have to be good in the league and cup, ' he told Movistar. He was unbelievable. When he's in that form he's magic to watch.
Messi clipped a pass to Luis Suarez before Coutinho smartly hooked the ball back from the touchline to the edge of the area, where Rakitic launched himself into the air for an agile half-volley that flashed past Lloris.
Personal honours have been a hot topic this season, with Messi and former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo having dominated the Ballon d'Or over the last decade, but challengers like Modric making a strong case to win more awards in 2018. If that were actually true then the four above him would have to be gods because Messi is not of this earth, as he showed again on Wednesday.
Barcelona were vulnerable so they said, but on a pitch scarred from hosting British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua's fight against Alexander Povetkin they took only two minutes to catch Spurs in the solar plexus.
A late Messi goal sealed a game which was in the balance up until the dying minutes.
"He's a fantastic player", Pochettino said after the game.
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