helsea boss Antonio Conte on Wednesday praised Barcelona forward Lionel Messi after the Argentinian scored twice to rout out Chelsea 3-0 (4-1 on aggregate) from the Champions League. Speaking at the press conference, the Blues manager described Messi as a “fantastic player”. “(He’s) a fantastic player moved the final result, moved the qualification over the two legs,” the Italian said.
Cone further went on to say that Messi is “best in the world”. “I have to praise the commitment of my players, and be proud because they gave everything. But Messi made the difference and, when you have the opportunity to make a great compliment to Messi, it’s right to praise a super, super, super top player. A player who is able to score 60 goals in every season. Not only for one season. We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world,” he said.
Messi opened the scoring on Wednesday night, putting one behind the back of the net in the third minute of play. He also provided an assist to Ousman Dembele to give the Spanish side a 2-0 lead within 20 minutes. He scored his 100th Champions League goal in the 64th minute, taking his side to an unassailable 3-0 lead in the match.
The former Premier League winning manager added that a player like Messi is born once only in 50 years. “He’s a player who can change the final result for any team he is playing in. But he started to play with Barcelona and, for sure, he will finish his career in Barcelona. Many teams can hope to have him in their team, but it won’t be possible. This is a great story for Barcelona and Messi. This type of player is born once every 50 years. We are talking about one single player with this capacity, with this ability, with these skills. He’s fantastic,” he said.
Speaking about the result of the match, the Chelsea boss said that their side were “unlucky”. “They scored three times but I think we didn’t deserve this type of result. We were a bit unlucky because we created many chances to score. I think there was a penalty on Marcos Alonso [after a challenge from Gerard Piqué] at the start of the second half and, if you make it 2-1, you can put a bit of pressure on Barcelona. At the end, I repeat: I must be pleased with the commitment of my players. I saw great work from my players,” he said.
Messi became only the second player after Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to reach the 100-goal mark in the Champions League. He achieved the milestone in 123 matches.