Messi the best and Suarez still great - Valverde supports Barcelona's star men

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The Camp Nou boss acknowledges that he is fortunate to be working with some of the finest talent in world football, with star turns old and new hailed

Lionel Messi is “the best player in the entire world”, while Luis Suarez’s scoring struggles were never an issue for Barcelona, says Ernesto Valverde.

The man in charge at Camp Nou has been discussing some of the star turns at his disposal, with established icons and exciting fresh faces being saluted.

Among those to have earned the highest praise is club talisman Messi, with the Argentine having missed out on individual honours in 2017 but still considered to be the finest performer in the business.

Valverde told Barca TV on the mercurial 30-year-old forward: “Messi is the best player in the entire world. He does something extraordinary with every ball he touches. We have the incredible good fortune to have him at our club.

Ernesto Valverde Lionel Messi best Luis Suarez scoring

“I can see how he faces competition and his enormous commitment to the club and the team. In terms of his position, playing in the middle is good both for him and for us. However, he can play well anywhere.”

While Messi has been able to maintain his impeccably high standards, fellow frontman Suarez endured a wobble early on in the current campaign as he struggled to find the target.

Valverde added on the Uruguayan striker: “The important thing is to create chances - the goals will come. Luis is an aggressive player with his finishing and is always close to scoring.

“I wasn't worried when he wasn't scoring as much, because it was a question of time before he found the net again. Also, we have players who are able to score, and it’s important that there are so many players who score goals.”

Barca lost the third member of their ‘MSN’ frontline to Paris Saint-Germain over the summer and are yet to see much from the man brought in to fill Neymar’s boots, with Ousmane Dembele only just returning from injury.

The manager admitted that losing the Brazilian was a blow for the Catalans. 

"Neymar's departure was a difficult moment for the club," he explained.

"We can't deny that."

However, he still has faith that the club's young signing has the quality to come good in Spain. 

"Any Barca player is a different player,” Valverde said on a €105 million addition from Borussia Dortmund.

“Dembele's profile was different to anything we had. He is able to play in various positions and is very fast. We have a big squad, we've made good replacements up to now, and now he's coming back. It's great news.”

Paulinho Barcelona

While Dembele arrived amid much fanfare at Camp Nou, Barca have found greater value in a player who faced plenty of criticism following a €40m switch.

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Valverde added on a Brazil international midfielder acquired from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande: “Paulinho has a different style. He gets into the opposition box and is highly effective. He has faith, he keeps up with play and he scores goals.

“We try to have a balance: When we attack, we all attack -and when we defend, we all defend. That's what Paulinho does well.”

Barca return to action after the winter break with a Copa del Rey clash with Celta Vigo on Thursday, before the La Liga leaders then turn their attention back to a title bid with a home date against Levante.

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