We always expect something special from Messi – Valverde

Lionel Messi has been almost unstoppable this season and Ernesto Valverde paid tribute to him for making the exceptional look normal.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been inspirational this season, scoring 45 goals across all competitions to help the club cruise in La Liga and reach the Champions League semifinals.   -  Getty Images

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde marvelled at Lionel Messi's form this season, lauding him for making the "special" seem routine.

Messi has been inspirational for Barca in 2018-19, scoring 45 goals across all competitions to help the club cruise in La Liga and reach the Champions League semifinals.

No fewer than 33 of those goals have come from just 29 La Liga games, while his recent form of 12 strikes in eight league matches has seen Barca maintain their strong form into the crucial stages of the season.

Messi was also at his best on Tuesday when Barca beat Manchester United 3-0 – the Argentina star scoring a brace – to set up a Champions League semifinal tie with Liverpool.

His performance against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men allowed Messi to emphatically hit back at critics who suggested his first-leg display, which Barca won 1-0, was underwhelming and Valverde paid tribute on Friday.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of Real Sociedad, Valverde said: "I would like to have an assortment of words, but what can I say about Leo?

"He is breaking all the records, and those he will still beat. He makes the public always expect something special from him, and he delivers it.

"We know what he is, what he means from a global point of view and we are enjoying that."

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