'All you can do is applaud': Messi leaves Simeone awestruck after latest wonderstrike sends Barca top of La Liga (VIDEO)
Messi's 86th-minute strike proved to be the difference between the two sides as Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona side moved back to the summit of the Spanish top division and despite the high stakes nature of the match, both coaches couldn't help but recognize the performance of the mercurial Argentine maestro.
It was another stunning strike from a player who has made a career on realizing the impossible on a football pitch, as he glided past Atletico defenders and played a one-two with strike partner Luis Suarez before pinging the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of Jan Oblak's goal.
Valverde, who has been under pressure amid a series of lackluster performances from his side in recent weeks, was effusive in his praise for this star man after the game, describing his ability as "infallible."
4 - @FCBarcelona have collected 17 points in #LaLiga thanks to 52 Lionel Messi's goals the last five minutes. Four of these points have been earned vs Atlético de Madrid, more than any other opponent in the competition. Decisive pic.twitter.com/ObOhFGLGC6— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 2, 2019
Oh Messi, what a goal. The diminutive dios scores yet another beauty. 👏🏻👏🏻— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 1, 2019
"Leo is infallible when he runs because he has an open radar," Valverde said. "Everyone makes runs and he decides. In this case, he finished off the move.
"The best players are the ones who can counter-attack the best. Messi has sufficient technique and in those situations, he's infallible."
Diego Simeone, whose side remain rooted to sixth position following their second defeat of the season, was also unable to restrain his admiration for Messi when asked by the media if his side felt "impotence" in their inability to defend against one of the world's greatest players.
"Not impotence, because with a great goal like that, all you can do is applaud," he said. "The move, when the counter-attack started, had the smell of great danger. He scored a 'golazo.'"Also on rt.com 'Don't let Roma happen again': Footage reveals Messi’s ill-fated warning to Barca teammates before they collapsed at Liverpool
Messi is widely expected to add another Ballon d'Or to his collection during Monday's ceremony in Paris, a win which would move him up to six in his career thus far - one more than rival Cristiano Ronaldo.