'What can I say about Leo?' - Valverde marvels at Messi as Barcelona star continues to shine

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The Argentine has been almost unstoppable this season and his manager paid tribute to him for making the exceptional look normal

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde marvelled at Lionel Messi's form this season, lauding him for making the "special" seem routine.

Messi has been inspirational for Barca in 2018-19, scoring 45 goals across all competitions to help the club cruise in La Liga and reach the Champions League semi-finals.

No fewer than 33 of those goals have come from just 29 La Liga games, while his recent form of 12 strikes in eight league matches has seen Barca maintain their strong form into the crucial stages of the season.

Messi was also at his best on Tuesday when Barca beat Manchester United 3-0 – the Argentina star scoring a brace – to set up a Champions League semi-final tie with Liverpool.

His performance against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men allowed Messi to emphatically hit back at critics who suggested his first-leg display, which Barca won 1-0, was underwhelming and Valverde paid tribute on Friday.

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Speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of Real Sociedad, Valverde said: "I would like to have an assortment of words, but what can I say about Leo?

"He is breaking all the records, and those he will still beat. He makes the public always expect something special from him, and he delivers it.

"We know what he is, what he means from a global point of view and we are enjoying that."