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'Messi is the most important man in the history of the club' - Koeman praises Barcelona's record breaker

02:37 GMT+3 16/03/2021
Lionel Messi Barcelona 2021
The Argentina superstar inspired the Blaugrana to a 4-1 win over Huesca to close in on Atletico Madrid

Ronald Koeman has described Lionel Messi as “the most important man in the history” of Barcelona.

Messi etched himself another note in the record books when joining Xavi at the top of Barcelona’s all-time list of appearance makers.

He marked his 767th appearance for the club with two goals in the 4-1 win over Huesca to ramp up the pressure on Atletico Madrid in the title race.

What was said?

After a slow start to the season, Barcelona are picking up momentum and after inspiring the side to victory, coach Koeman lavished praise on the Argentina superstar.

“I think Messi has shown that he is the best," Koeman said. "The first goal was fantastic. He deserves to be important for this team.

"I don't know what else to say about Leo. The level he has been at for so many years, so many games.

“He has equalled Xavi and in principle he will surpass him on Sunday.

“He is the most important man in the history of this club. Luckily he is still with us."

Another record is set

Most players would be happy to settle for setting one record in a game, but Messi is not most players.

In plundering two strikes, he went past the 20-goal mark for the season. In achieving the feat, Messi was doing it for the 13th consecutive season, becoming the only player to do so in La Liga history.

Barca ramp up title pressure

Atletico Madrid’s draw against Getafe on Saturday left the door slightly ajar, and Barca powered through to cut the gap at the top of the table to four points.

There are 11 games remaining in the Liga season, and Koeman is looking for his "confident" team to keep on pushing.

“The points we lost for a few weeks ... we have reacted well,” the Dutch coach said. “The team is confident. We are in good shape and we are fighting.

“We cannot lose more points because we have already lost quite a few.

"I've always said there is a lot to play for. It's always hard for any team to hold out."

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