Lionel Messi was praised by Antonio Conte after punishing Chelsea’s mistakes to send Barcelona through to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Conte took the opportunity to compliment Messi in person after the Argentina playmaker scored twice and made another for Ousmane Dembele in a 3-0 win which secured a 4-1 aggregate success for Barca.
“When you have the opportunity to make a great compliment to Messi at the end of the game, I think it’s right,” Conte said.
“We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world. I think we are talking about the player that can move the final result for every team that he’s playing for. This type of player, (there is) one player born in 50 years.”
After eight appearances without a goal against Chelsea, Messi settled this tie by scoring the equaliser in last month’s first leg before an influential performance here.
Messi struck after 126 seconds, netting through the legs of the hapless Thibaut Courtois, and struck his 100th Champions League goal, again through the Chelsea goalkeeper’s legs.