Lionel Messi praises Cristiano Ronaldo after rivals's Champions League hat-trick

Ronaldo has gone level with Messi on eight Champions League trebles

Lionel Messi has heaped praise on Cristiano Ronaldo after another stand-out display
Image: Lionel Messi heaped praise on Cristiano Ronaldo after another stand-out display

Lionel Messi saluted Cristiano Ronaldo's efforts from the previous night after producing a superb display of his own in Barcelona's thrashing of Lyon on Wednesday.

Messi scored two goals and set up two more at the Nou Camp as Barca triumphed 5-1 against the French side in their Champions League last-16 second leg, three weeks on from leg one ending goalless.

On Tuesday, his old rival Ronaldo's hat-trick secured Juventus a 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid for a 3-2 victory on aggregate.

Cristiano Ronaldo struck a hat-trick for Juventus to knock out Atletico Madrid
Image: Ronaldo struck a hat-trick for Juventus to knock out Atletico Madrid on Tuesday

Messi was quoted by Marca as saying after the Lyon game: "What Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus did was impressive.

"I thought Atletico Madrid would be tougher. Ronaldo had a magical night with three goals."

Messi shines but Ronaldo is CL king

Messi shines but Ronaldo is CL king

Lionel Messi provided a two-goal response to Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick but the Portuguese remains the Champions League king.

Regarding Friday's draw for the quarter and semi-finals, Messi added: "All of the opponents are complicated.

"Ajax (who beat Real Madrid in the last 16), for example, showed that they're an amazing team of youngsters and they don't fear anyone.

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Messi produces a sublime Panenka penalty for his first against Lyon
Image: Messi produces a sublime Panenka penalty for his first against Lyon

"It'll be difficult no matter who we face. We have to prepare ourselves for a tough challenge."

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was quoted as saying in his post-match press conference: "We're all very focused on this competition and Messi is too. He played an incredible match."

Valverde also echoed Messi's sentiments with regard to the draw.

"It's impossible to look at just one team," he said. "We've all done well to get through. We'll see who we will play, but any opponent will be complicated."

Ernesto Valverde expects a difficult battle whoever Barcelona face in the quarter-finals
Image: Ernesto Valverde expects a difficult battle whoever Barcelona face next

Messi opened the scoring with a 17th-minute Panenka-style penalty, and Philippe Coutinho then made it 2-0 just after the half-hour mark.

Lucas Tousart pulled a goal back for Lyon in the 58th minute, before Messi added his second in the 78th and then teed up Gerard Pique and substitute Ousmane Dembele.

Luis Suarez won the penalty when he went down in the area when challenged by Jason Denayer. Referee Szymon Marciniak pointed to the spot and Messi then coolly converted after the incident was checked by VAR.

Marca reported that Suarez said in an interview with Movistar Plus: "I think I accidentally stepped on him (Denayer) and I think that unbalanced me a little. The referee can decide to give it or not."

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