Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was showered with praise by his coach Ernesto Valverde and losing manager Bruno Genesio after a headline performance in his side's 5-1 win over Olympique Lyonnais to reach the Champions League quarter-finals. And just when the French team pulled a goal back for 2-1 and was pressing for a draw that would have sent them through, Messi took control by scoring a solo goal when he wrong-footed a pair of defenders.
"With what happened [Tuesday] with Cristiano and Juventus was really impressive", Messi told FCBarcelona.com. "(Manchester) City, Juventus... Ajax has shown that it has a great team of younger players who aren't afraid of anyone.
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Messi's Barca could potentially face Ronaldo's Juve in the last eight if the two sides are paired together in Friday's draw for the next round, but the Argentine would not be drawn on who they would prefer to face in the quarterfinals. Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele both added goals to their name - both assisted by Messi - to ensure the Blaugrana's campaign would live another round.
He will also have to sit out the league games against Espanyol, Villarreal and, in all probability, Atletico Madrid's visit to Camp Nou on April 6.
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The forward will miss Sunday's league game against Real Betis and will be unavailable to join up with the France squad during the upcoming worldwide break. "Now it's about the next game. I am [just] happy with my performance today".
The five-time Ballon d'Or winners have met five times in the Champions League. The 31-year-old has set up 12 goals this season, with Chelsea's Eden Hazard following closely behind with 11 assists to his name.
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