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Valverde hails incredible Messi after starring role in win over Dortmund

The Argentinian scored in the 3-1 victory which secured passage to the Champions League last 16.

Lionel Messi drew praise from manager Ernesto Valverde (Emilio Morenatti/AP)
Lionel Messi drew praise from manager Ernesto Valverde (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

By PA Sport Staff

Head coach Ernesto Valverde hailed Lionel Messi as incredible after the Argentinian marked his 700th appearance for Barcelona with his 613th goal for the club.

Messi also provided two assists and was booked for diving as Barca beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

England forward Jadon Sancho scored a consolation for the visitors, who remain level on points with Inter Milan ahead of the final round of group games.

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Antoine Griezmann scored after being set up by Lionel Messi (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Dortmund are at home to Slavia Prague on December 10 with Inter Milan welcoming Barcelona to the San Siro.

Messi set up Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann either side of his own goal and Valverde expects Messi’s relationship with Griezmann can only improve.

“A lot is said about their connection, especially when one of them scores,” Valverde told a post-match press conference in quotes reported by Marca. “Good players always understand each other.

“For example, Luis (Suarez) and Leo understand each other to perfection because they’ve spent a long time playing together. Messi and Griezmann will understand each other better with time.

“We have to find the right timing for this. With time, it will be much better. What can I say about Messi, he was incredible.”

Speaking about winning Group F, Valverde added: “We’re in the most difficult group in the competition and we’ve qualified with a game to spare for another year.

“We’ve suffered a lot, but it means a lot to us. Apart from the last few minutes, the team played a great game.”

PA

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