Lionel Messi: Cristiano Ronaldo had a magical night against Atletico Madrid

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Lionel Messi hailed Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick performance against Atletico Madrid as "magical" following his own dazzling display for Barcelona in the Champions League.

He then set up Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele for two goals in the final 10 minutes as the hosts added gloss to the scoreline and booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Ronaldo has also won five Champions League trophies to Messi's four, meaning he is now aiming to become the first player to win the competition six times.

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

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde had warned his side of complacency after Paris St Germain and Real Madrid's surprise exits, and his words carried more weight after Atletico Madrid were knocked out by Juventus despite a 2-0 first leg win.

Interestingly, Messi is in fact ahead of Ronaldo in terms of minutes per goal in the Champions League, averaging a goal every 100 minutes compared to Ronaldo's 112 minutes, but when it comes to the crunch, Ronaldo's record is unrivalled.

Image PA
Image PA

Respect to Messi for admitting his long-term rival had a "magical" night.

"We're relaxed and what we have to prepare for is the toughest test possible, which is what's coming now in the final stage of the season".

"All of the opponents are complicated", he said.

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

You don't have to pick one, but as long as Messi and Ronaldo keep trying to battle for top spot, we're going to see some sensational performances for years to come.

The draw for the quarter-finals will take place at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday.

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