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Messi puts on own Champions League masterclass – but has praise for ‘magical’ Ronaldo

Messi puts on own Champions League masterclass – but has praise for ‘magical’ Ronaldo
Lionel Messi had praise for GOAT rival Cristiano Ronaldo after the Barcelona star conjured some magic of his own to send his team into the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

Messi scored two – including a sublime ‘Penenka’ penalty – and laid on two assists as Barcelona hammered Lyon 5-1 in Spain to win their last 16 tie by the same scoreline on aggregate.

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The internet was gushing with praise for ‘alien’ Messi after his performance, which came just 24 hours after his great rival Ronaldo netted a hat-trick to haul Juventus past Atletico Madrid and into the last eight.

READ MORE: 'A living football god': Reaction as Ronaldo takes center stage with Champions League hat-trick

The pair of generational greats have often been seen as reluctant to praise the other, but speaking after the win against Lyon at the Nou Camp, Messi said: "What Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus did was impressive.”

"I thought Atletico Madrid would be tougher. Ronaldo had a magical night with three goals," he added, according to Marca.

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With both Juve and Barca in the hat for Friday’s quarterfinal draw, the pair of generational greats could soon cross paths – although Messi said the challenge posed by any of the remaining teams was a tough one.

As well as the Italian and Spanish pair, there are a quartet of English teams in Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham, as well as Ajax and Porto.    

"All of the opponents are complicated. Ajax, for example, showed that they're an amazing team of youngsters and they don't fear anyone.

"It'll be difficult no matter who we face.”

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Messi’s goals helped Barca to reach their 12th consecutive quarterfinal in the competition, as the Argentine scored his 107th and 108th Champions League goals on his 131st appearance.

Ronaldo’s treble against Atletico extended his record as the Champions League’s all-time top scorer with 124 strikes in 160 games.   

As the competition heads into the last eight, brace yourselves for yet more discussion in the seemingly never-ending GOAT debate.