Messi serves masterclass
— Lionel Messi gave yet another sparkling Champions League recital when he netted a hat-trick as Barcelona began their European campaign with a crushing 4-0 home win over Ajax Amsterdam in Group H on Wednesday night. The Argentine World Player of the Year, who has made brilliance seem routine with an incredible haul of goals in recent seasons, conjured another memorable night at the Nou Camp for his adoring fans by becoming the first player to score four trebles in Europe’s elite club competition. At the age of just 26, his overall goals tally is now 62 in 80 appearances, nine short of former Real Madrid forward and record marksman Raul.
“It was important to start with a win, especially playing at home,” Messi said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus. “We know how difficult these Champions League groups always are,” he added.
“We found it tough to pressure them initially because they were moving the ball well out from the back. “But I think in general it was a great performance.” Defender Gerard Pique had netted Barca’s third with a header from Neymar’s whipped center in the 69th minute and goalkeeper Victor Valdes continued his fine run of form by saving Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s 77th-minute penalty, one of a host of good saves.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at The HeraldSimilar Stories