Tue, Mar 21, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Barca’s Enrique, Pique marvel at prolific Messi

Reuters, BARCELONA, Spain

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, front, scores against Valencia in their La Liga match at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday.

Photo: AP

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique paid tribute to talisman Lionel Messi on Sunday after the Argentine scored twice in a 4-2 win over Valencia to rack up at least 40 goals in all competitions for the eighth consecutive season.

Messi put Barca 2-1 up just before halftime from the penalty spot and then latched onto a pass from compatriot Javier Mascherano to slam the ball beyond Diego Alves’ near post and hit his 25th league goal of the campaign.

In addition, he has scored 11 times in the UEFA Champions League, four in the Copa del Rey and one in the Supercopa de Espana — with his tally currently standing at 41.

Messi first scored 40 goals in a single campaign in the 2009-20110 season and has repeated that feat every season since.

“It’s amazing, he’s broken every record and will continue to break more,” Luis Enrique told reporters. “How marvelous it is to enjoy Messi, no one can touch his numbers, it’s impossible for anyone to do what he has done apart from him. We’ll miss him when he’s gone.”

Messi made his Barcelona debut in 2004 and became the club’s all-time top scorer in 2012 against Granada, overtaking Spaniard Cesar Rodriguez, and in 2014 surpassed the late Telmo Zarra as the top marksman in La Liga by scoring a hat-trick against Sevilla.

“He is the best of all time and we’ve gotten used to him doing this,” Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique said. “He has made it seem normal, but we know how difficult it is and when he stops playing it’ll be very difficult for anyone to surpass those numbers. We just need to enjoy the years we have left with him.”

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