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Messi was once again king

Patrick Power by Patrick Power @rfutbol - 2 6,999

Pin Messi floats around and is almost impossible to stop. AFP
Messi floats around and is almost impossible to stop. AFP

Messi was once again king

Patrick Power by Patrick Power @rfutbol - 2 6,999

Lionel Messi's brilliant display was the difference between Barcelona and Chelsea. He put Antonio Conte's side to the sword with a performance that gives further credence to the idea that Messi is the best ever.

A hostile atmosphere welcomed Chelsea to the Camp Nou for the second leg of the round of 16. 'God save the king', read a huge banner that covered one of the stands. A tribute from the Barcelona fans to the one and only Lionel Messi.

On Wednesday night, the king was the difference between a decent Chelsea side and a place in the Champions League quarter-finals. Barcelona may be more than just the Argentine, with a solid defence, Ter Stegen's crucial saves and Luis Suarez's incesant drives forward alos contributing towards a place in the last eight. Chelsea, however, were condemned by Messi.

On the night he finally reached a century of goals in the Champions League, Messi offered the type of display that marks him out as a generational player, and arguably the greatest of all time. "I think tonight and in these two legs Messi made the difference. As you know very well we are talking about the best player in the world," Antonio Conte conceded after the clash.

It took him just two minutes to turn the fixture into an uphill battle for the visitors. He then assisted Ousmane Dembele before sealing his own brace and Chelsea's fate. The problem with Messi, as Conte's men found out, is it is impossible to know where and when the danger will come. When the Blues looked at their best, Messi lashed out, turning the encounter on its head.

His movement, passing and dribbling was simply too good. He made every member of the Chelsea back-line look foolish as they frantically attempted to stop a man that will not desist. His entire performance spoke for his ability to go from stillnes to speed in a matter of seconds. From apparently innocent to delivering a lethal blow to see Barcelona through to the quarter-finals. And they have the king to thank for that.

Patrick Power

Patrick Power

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