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Lionel Messi the best player there is and there ever will be: Ernesto Valverde

Lionel Messi, who scored twice in FC Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Real Betis in La Liga, has earned praise from Ernesto Valverde -- who thinks the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will never be bettered.

football Updated: Jan 22, 2018 10:04 IST
By Sacha Pisani
By Sacha Pisani
Omnisport
Lionel Messi,FC Barcelona,Ernesto Valverde
FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 19 goals in 20 La Liga games this season. (Twitter )

Lionel Messi is the “best player there is and there ever will be” as head coach Ernesto Valverde heaped praise on the Barcelona star.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi scored a brace in Barcelona’s 5-0 rout of Real Betis in La Liga action on Sunday.

(Read | Five-star Barcelona extend lead in La Liga, Real Madrid crush Deportivo)

Messi took his tally to 19 league goals for the season, while Luis Suarez also netted twice after Ivan Rakitic’s opener.

“You have to enjoy him,” Valverde said of Messi. “We have been able to live his era.

“I have suffered because of him and I know what that is like. Now I can enjoy it.

(Read | Bloodied Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice in Real Madrid rout vs Deportivo la Coruna)

“It is an event to watch him every day. He is the best player there is and there ever will be.”

The demolition in Seville saw Barca move 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Girona.

(Read | I cried a lot (after 2014 exit)…I’ll be more prepared for 2018 World Cup: Neymar)

Defending champion Real Madrid are 19 points adrift in fourth position with a game in hand.

“For us it won’t be a boring league,” Valverde told reporters. “We will continue trying to win our matches, without speculating about the future.

“There are 18 games left and that is a lot. But, every game we win will be a very big step.”

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 10:04 IST