Champions League

Messi the best ever - Enrique

2014-11-26 07:36
Lionel Messi (Supplied)
Lionel Messi (Supplied)

Nicosia - Lionel Messi was hailed as the best player ever by Barcelona coach Luis Enrique after setting a Champions League scoring record of 74 goals with a hat-trick in Tuesday's 4-0 win at APOEL Nicosia.

Read: Barca thrash APOEL

"Lionel Messi is the greatest player of all time, football is the king of sports and he will continue to surprise everyone for a long time," Luis Enrique said after Messi broke Raul's record of 71 goals.

He was also full of praise for Messi's fellow forward Luis Suarez who opened his account for Barcelona in the Group F match following his close season move from Liverpool.

"Suarez will score many more goals and he is a player who contributes much more than goals to the team," said Luis Enrique.

Barca struggled to beat lowly Almeria in La Liga earlier this month and Luis Enrique was asked why his team had improved with a 5-1 win over Sevilla on Saturday and Tuesday's result.

"Changes in performance are expected throughout the season and the next job is to prepare the team for a difficult game against Valencia following a good victory over difficult opposition who haven't conceded a lot of goals in this competition," he said.

APOEL coach Giorgos Donis heaped praise on Barcelona and record-breaking forward Messi, telling reporters the Spanish side were on "another level".

"He is a phenomenon and can do incredible things with a football," Donis said of Messi.

But the German-born Greek coach was bullish about his team's chances of beating Ajax Amsterdam away in their final group game to qualify for the Europa League. APOEL are bottom with one point behind the Dutch side who have two points.

"It's very difficult to win away from home in the Champions League but the players will fight until the last minute for the win," he said.

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