Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said he has ‘run out of words’ to describe Lionel Messi after the captain inspired a 5-1 rout of Real Valladolid.
Messi produced a masterclass with a brace and two assists as defending champions Barca moved top of the La Liga table on Tuesday.
Barca captain Messi set up Arturo Vidal with an exquisite pass before scoring a stunning free-kick – the 50th of his career for club and Argentina – prior to half-time at Camp Nou.
Messi netted his second of the match after the interval and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner teed up team-mate Luis Suarez as Barca climbed above Granada and Atletico Madrid atop the summit.
“What else can be said about him? I’ve run out of words,” Valverde told reporters. “We always know that he will appear, whatever the match.
“His talent isn’t comparable to anything; the reality has been that every time he touches the round ball, something special happens. I just don’t know what to say.”
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Valverde added: “He has been getting closer to his best form [after injury], when Leo gets it something bad will happen to the rival.
“He has that talent that nobody has, he escapes anyone and it has been not only that he can make an individual play but he does things that nobody sees.
“It happens to me sometimes, he does things that are not seen even from the crowd, every day has been better.”
Although Clement Lenglet’s second-minute opener was fortuitously cancelled out by Valladolid’s Kiko Olivas 13 minutes later, Messi was able to inspire Barca against the visitors.
Barca are two points clear of Granada and Atletico Madrid – the latter of whom have played an extra match due to the postponement of El Clasico last weekend – after 10 games.
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“We value very much what we do,” Valverde added. “We have in memory what we have done but we want to look forward and win this league.
“It has been not easy to take the games forward, Valladolid tied against Atletico and Real Madrid and it has been not easy to beat them.”
The Catalans’ next match comes in the league at Levante on Saturday.