Messi continues to get better – Valverde hails record-breaking captain

Ernesto Valverde lauded Lionel Messi, who became the first player to score in the Champions League for 15 consecutive seasons.

Lionel Messi became the first player to score in 15 consecutive seasons in the Champions League.   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi gets better with each passing day as head coach Ernesto Valverde heaped praise on Barcelona's record-breaking superstar following Wednesday's Champions League victory.

Messi set a new Champions League record with his goalscoring display in Barca's unconvincing 2-1 victory away to Slavia Prague in Group F midweek.

The Barca captain's third-minute goal saw him become the first player to score in the Champions League for 15 consecutive seasons, while he also matched Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid great Raul in having netted against 33 different opponents in Europe's premier club competition.

Valverde hailed Messi post-match, telling reporters: "He's the player who can decide any game. Every day we see him he's even better.

"One more record for the incredible Leo. They are easy to say, it seems natural, but it is very difficult to achieve."

READ | Messi sets Champions League record as Barca beats Slavia Prague 2-1

After Messi's opener, Slavia managed to restore parity via Jan Boril five minutes into the second half but a huge slice of luck benefited Barca, who saw Peter Olayinka deflected in Luis Suarez's effort.

The win saw Barca improve to seven points from three games, three points ahead of Inter and Borussia Dortmund.

On Messi, Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets added: "He's had a tough start to the season because of injuries. He's fundamental to the way we play and a lot goes through him.

"He's getting his rhythm back but it won't take him long because he's the best in the world."

"That was exactly the Slavia performance we expected," Valverde told a news conference. "These games, we have to know how to play them. We have lacked peace of mind. We had clearer chances than they did, but their pushing could hurt us. They were like wolves. When we lost the ball they threw people forward and by the end they took so many risks it was like defending against an avalanche of attacks."

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