Messi is god-like – Beckenbauer

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has again been lavished with praise for his continued excellence on the pitch

Bayern Munich and Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer has labelled Barcelona star Lionel Messi “god-like” and believes the Catalans hopes of success this season rest on his shoulders.

The 27-year-old has recovered from a disappointing end to 2014 to inspire his side to a fine run of form domestically and in Europe to leave the club challenging for silverware on three fronts.

Barca lead La Liga by two points ahead of Real Madrid and face Bayern in the semi-finals of the Champions League, while Athletic Bilbao await in the Copa del Rey final.

Beckenbauer will, of course, hope Messi has a dip in form as his side take on Luis Enrique’s men over two legs, but admitted he is a big admirer of the Argentina international.

He told Sky 90: “He is a divine player, he is god-like. The hopes of Barcelona are reliant on Messi.”

The European tie will see Bavarians coach Pep Guardiola face Barca for the first time since leaving the club in 2012 and Beckenbauer believes his knowledge of the club could be key.

“Guardiola knows the ins and outs of Barcelona. He knows the smallest of details that could put Bayern on their way.”

Bayern face Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final of the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday and the 69-year-old says anything other than a perfect performance could see his former team shocked by BVB.

“I think Bayern must put on a flawless performance, otherwise they will go out. The minute you think negatively of Dortmund they will catch you out.”

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