Ernesto Valverde heaps praise on ‘genius’ Lionel Messi

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has branded Lionel Messi as a ‘genius’ after the Argentine starred during the club’s 3-0 win over Alaves in the season opener. Messi had a rather frustrating World Cup with Argentina over the summer but he managed to shed the disappointment with a brace to kick-start the league campaign.

Speaking after the game, Valverde was full of praise for the attacker, who scored Barcelona’s 6000th La Liga goal with a lovely free-kick which was intentionally placed underneath the opposition wall, he said: “Messi is a genius. We’re lucky to be able to see him every day. We’re lucky to be involved in football during the era in which he is playing — we want him to pull a rabbit from the hat every day. There’s still room for Messi to surprise us. He always surprises you — he never ceases to amaze me, honestly. You have to be ready to expect anything from Messi because he sees what no one else sees.”

Messi struggled to find his best form for Argentina during the recent World Cup in Russia and this saw the country ousted at the round of 16 stage after they beaten 4-3 by eventual champions France. Thereafter, there have been plenty of critics targeting the attacker after he was alleged to have influenced the team selection following a disagreement with manager Jorge Sampaoli.

Regardless of this, Messi had remained mum on the situation and he has now started the campaign with Barcelona in fine fashion with two goals and one assist – the latter which came during the Spanish Super Cup clash against Sevilla. Barcelona are scheduled to take on newcomers Real Valladolid in their next league outing this weekend and Valverde will be hoping that Messi can continue with the fine form showcased since becoming the permanent captain.