Ronaldo inspires praise, and more goals, from Messi


It was old hat for both managers when they were asked about the exploits of Messi, who both had nothing but massive praise for Barca's No. 10.

The Portuguese superstar bagged an incredible hat-trick to fire Juventus through to the last eight of the Champions League, just when they needed him most.

A couple of goals tonight would put him well in contention to win the Golden Boot, although it will be silly to rule out Cristiano Ronaldo, who turns things on in the knockout stages and is now on four goals.

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 Portugal star hit a hattrick to overturn a Champions League first-leg deficit.

Messi topped off his performance with two late assists to take him to four goal involvements on the night (which pips Cristiano Ronaldo's tally of three last night).

He continued to torment the visitors, gifting defender Pique a sliding tap-in with a attractive pass and then setting up substitute Dembele.

Ousmane Dembele could be set to miss Barcelona's Champions League quarter-final first-leg through injury. They met again in 2011 semifinals, when Messi scored twice to help Barcelona eliminate Real Madrid.

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Barca were dominant from the start, as Anthony Lopes leaped across goal to plug out Lionel Messi's curling effort on five minutes. Liverpool eliminated Bundesliga power Bayern Munich 3-1 to make the final cut.

Messi added: "There are some very good teams left like Manchester City, Juventus like I said".

"We'll have to see who we are drawn with and prepare for what is to come, which will be the hardest part yet".

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