'What Cristiano Ronaldo did against Atletico was impressive' says Lionel Messi
What's the story?
Barcelona ace Lionel Messi has acknowledged Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo's efficiency during the Old Lady's win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, while adding that he initially thought the La Liga outfit would be tougher.
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Ronaldo heroics was in full display as Juventus hosted the Spanish giants at the Allianz Stadium. The 34-year-old single-handedly fired the club to the quarter-finals of the competition by overcoming their first leg two-goal deficit with three crucial goals.
The hat-trick marked Ronaldo's eighth treble in the competition, thereby equaling Messi's Champions League hat-trick record.
Messi himself found the net twice as Barcelona beat Lyon 5-1 to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals last night. The Catalan giants, who sit at the top of the Spanish league table, are looking to revive their position in Europe to help them in their chase for a treble.
The heart of the matter
Following Barcelona's victory over Lyon, Messi took time to praise his longstanding rival's performance against Atletico saying (via Marca), "What Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus did was impressive."
"I thought Atletico Madrid would be tougher. Ronaldo had a magical night with three goals."
When asked about potentially facing Juventus in the next round of the competition, the Argentine replied, "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. We have to prepare ourselves for a tough challenge."
The 31-year-old then gave his analysis on his side's game against Lyon saying, "We went for the match from the start and moved the ball around well. There was a bit of suffering after they made it 2-1, as we'd made it tough for ourselves at a set piece. They hadn't done anything until then."
"Luckily we then made it 3-1 and we could be calm again. The goal for the 3-1 had a bit of suspense, but luckily the ball made it. At 3-1 we found a lot more space and we could come out quickly on the counter-attack."
Both Juventus and Barcelona will find out their quarter-final opponents on Friday at 11:00 GMT.