Record breaking Lionel Messi sets sights on taking down PSG
Fresh from becoming the top goalscorer in Champions League history with a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over APOEL Nicosia on Tuesday, Lionel Messi was targeting victory over Paris Saint-Germain and top spot in Group F.
Nicosia: Fresh from becoming the top goalscorer in Champions League history with a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over APOEL Nicosia on Tuesday, Lionel Messi was targeting victory over Paris Saint-Germain and top spot in Group F.
Barcelona need to beat the French champions on December 10 to avoid the danger of meeting the likes of Bayern Munich in the last 16 and Messi preferred to stress the importance of victory at the Camp Nou rather than reflect on another record breaking night just days after also becoming the all-time leading goalscorer in La Liga.
"I am happy to have achieved such a great record in such an important competition, but the really important thing is the three points which we won," said the 27-year-old.
"We will try to continue as we have played until now and to achieve the objectives that Barcelona need to meet.
"It will be a difficult game. We have already played and lost in Paris. They have very good players and are a team that are getting better all the time. But we are playing at home, we need to play very well and make sure we win the group."
Messi once again stole the show, but it was also a great evening for Luis Suarez in the Cypriot capital as he netted his first Barcelona goal in his fifth appearance since signing from Liverpool in July.
"For a striker it is always important to score goals and after a number of games, today I took the opportunity," said Suarez.
"More than anything it is important to help the team, but it is also important as it calms you down."
The Uruguayan opened the scoring on 27 minutes as he nutmegged his marker on the edge of the box before slotting the ball past the helpless Urko Pardo.
Messi then took over with his second hat-trick in four days after breaking Telmo Zarra`s 59-year-old La Liga record in similar fashion against Sevilla on Saturday.
The four-time World Player of the Year turned home Rafinha`s mishit shot to double Barca`s lead before the break and then latched onto Dani Alves`s through ball to make it 3-0 just before the hour mark.
Both sides were then reduced to 10 men as Rafinha and Joao Guilherme saw second yellow cards before Messi rounded off his historic night with another easy finish from Pedro Rodriguez`s cut-back three minutes from time.
A second victory by a four-goal margin in four days left Barca boss Luis Enrique in a buoyant mood and he claimed Messi`s achievements could rival those of any sportsman in history.
"Messi is the best player of all time and given football is the king of sports he can be compared to anyone. He doesn`t tire of scoring goals and we are proud to have him with us.
"It would be very easy to say that this is the performance I have enjoyed most all season. Playing like this we will be very difficult to beat.
"What I take away from the game is that we put in a marvellous performance. We were much superior to an opponent that before had only lost by one goal."