Featured Matches
Previous
Manchester City
Liverpool
(1) 2
(3) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Bayern Munich
Guadalajara
1
0
FT
Game Details
AS Trencin
Hull City
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Mlada Boleslav
Lyon
1
4
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Aberdeen
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Fortuna Düsseldorf
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AJ Auxerre
Le Havre AC
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ajaccio GFCO
Valenciennes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Arles
AC Ajaccio
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
Dijon FCO
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chateauroux
Troyes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nimes
Angers
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade Laval
Niort
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tours
Créteil
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FK Rubin Kazan
Spartak Moscow
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KV Oostende
Anderlecht
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Silkeborg IF
Sonderjyske
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Lillestrom
SK Brann
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bray
Athlone Town FC
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cork
Dundalk
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derry City
Bohemians
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Drogheda Utd
UCD
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Limerick FC
Shamrock
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
St Patricks
Sligo
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kansas City
Philadelphia Union
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
Pachuca
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
U.A.N.L
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
Banfield
Postp
Game Details
Rosario Central
Quilmes
Postp
Game Details
Lobos BUAP
Mineros de Zacatecas
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Correcaminos
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Avaí
Luverdense
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
Goianiense
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Unión La Calera
Antofagasta
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Real Espana
Parrillas One
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next
Mar 8, 2012

Messi hailed as 'greatest ever'

A host of top players and pundits have hailed Barcelona star Lionel Messi as the greatest player of all-time after he became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League game in the 7-1 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen.

• Guardiola gushes over Messi

Messi, 24, has scored 288 goals in 311 games for Barcelona and the two-time FIFA Ballon D'Or winner bagged his eighth hat-trick of the season.

The Argentinian is now joint in sixth place with Alfredo Di Stefano on the list of the European Cup/Champions League's all-time top scorers and many have claimed that he is now above the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona in the 'world's greatest player' debate.

Indeed, the tributes came pouring in after the game, with team-mate Cesc Fabregas saying: "You can expect anything from Leo. He is the best player in history, we have never seen anyone like him. He didn't play at the weekend and he wanted to do well. He enjoys being on the pitch and we are happy to have him.''

"Messi is a joke. For me the best ever," wrote Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney on Twitter.

Manager Pep Guardiola gushed over his talisman after the game and claimed he could get even better.

"I'm lucky to coach and manage this player," the Barca boss said. "He is the best. There's no-one else. He is a unique player because of his innate talent and also for his competitiveness. We will not see another player like Messi. It's not easy to score five goals, and one day he will score six."

Asked to compare Messi to legends like Johan Cruyff, Alfredo Di Stefano, Diego Maradona and Pele, Guardiola said: "The throne is his. Only he will decide when to leave it."

While Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong, on loan at Wolves, saw the funny side of the striker's feat, as he tweeted: " Messi has scored more goals in 1 game than me in my whole professional life!hahahahahahaha! #not human."

Messi, though, was quick to play down his own role to concentrate on the bigger picture.

He said: ''The most important thing tonight is that all these goals we scored take us one step closer to winning the Champions League, which is our objective. We went out there wanting to ensure qualification for the quarter-finals and we achieved that.

''I have always said that it's fantastic when things come off for you and you play well, but only if you meet your aims for the match. That's what happened against Leverkusen. The team played very, very well, the performance had some beautiful moments and we scored lots of goals.''

The five goals, plus the recent hat-trick for Argentina against Switzerland, means Messi has scored 14 goals in his last five games for club and country.

''It's all about enjoying the moment - from how it went with Argentina the other week to how it's going right now for my club,'' he added on UEFA's website.

''The sweetest part of it, for me, is that the team continues its run of form at the moment, winning games in style; that's the way to go as far as we can in the Champions League.

''As for the draws for the next rounds, I don't care which opponents we end up facing or when. Any club which has reached this stage is only here because it has done its work very well, and whoever we draw are going to be tough opposition.''

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.