Mascherano salutes Barcelona star Messi's return

The four-time Ballon d'Or winner marked his comeback in stunning fashion and his team-mate feels that he is already nearing the peak of his powers, despite a lengthy lay-off
Javier Mascherano believes that Lionel Messi is already back to his best after he scored twice on his return from injury in Barcelona's 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Getafe.

The Argentina star had been missing ever since he picked up a hamstring problem in the win over Real Betis in November but made a stunning comeback on Wednesday after two months out.

"Messi made a good return. I haven't had a lot of chances to speak with him but, in his second goal, you can see that he's back to his typical runs, that explosion of pace is just different," Mascherano told the club's official website.

"I'm pleased because these past two months have been complicated and he shied away from the limelight in order to focus on his recovery.

"I think it's served him well, though."

Messi has now netted 16 goals in 17 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona in 2013-14.