Messi was simply brilliant, says Cruyff

The legendary Dutchman was impressed with the prolific forward's performance, and has rubbished claims the Blaugrana's era could be over
Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff has hailed Lionel Messi in the wake of his double in the Blaugrana's 4-0 win over AC Milan on Tuesday.

The Argentina international netted twice before the interval as the Catalans pulled off a remarkable comeback after losing the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie, and Cruyff has nothing but praise for the prolific attacker.

"Messi was simply brilliant. What he did had nothing to do with the team's performance. It was all his individual quality that came to the fore," Cruyff told NOS.

"Because the rest of the team had a good game as well, he got the extra yard of space to do what he did, and he's very well capable of pulling it off in a situation like that.

"It really was a wonderful game."

The Dutchman then went on to laugh off suggestions that Barcelona's dominance was weakening, adding: "It's utter nonsense to say that. It doesn't make any sense to say it's the end of Barca's era."

Cruyff also had his say on the situation of Tito Vilanova, and stressed that the Barca coach's absence could hurt the Catalans.

"There's not really a leader to give directions when things are bad. Eleven players cannot make do without a leader. [Pep] Guardiola used to be that leader. A player cannot take that role."