Messi does things nobody else can do, says Iniesta

The Spain international had nothing but praise for the prolific attacker following Wednesday’s victory, but warned that the tie is not over just yet

Andres Iniesta has voiced his admiration for Lionel Messi in the wake of his superb performance in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg.

The Argentina international was the star of the show as he helped Barca to a vital home win with two goals and an assist in the final 15 minutes of the encounter at Camp Nou.

Iniesta has nothing but praise for his team-mate, saying the side are lucky to have him.

“Leo Messi does things that nobody else does. I take my hat off to him once again,” Iniesta told the official Barcelona website.

“We are lucky to be able to enjoy having him. He makes us happy.”

The Spanish midfielder then went on to voice his delight with Wednesday’s victory, but stressed that they cannot afford to get carried away.

“We tried to control the ball, but we knew they’d want it too. Our effectiveness in the last few minutes is what decided the game.

“We know what football is like. This is a semi-final against Bayern. Nothing has been decided yet because there are still 90 minutes to go and we’ll have to get things very right in Munich if we want to play the final. 

“We shouldn’t start thinking that nobody can beat us. We have to keep doing this, because if we stop, there are other very good teams and when you least expect it they can beat you.”

Barcelona the best in Europe, says Sammer

The former Germany international feels the Bavarians do not deserve to be criticised after the defeat because they were beaten by the strongest side in the continent

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has praised his side’s effort in Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first-leg, admitting that they were beaten by Europe’s very best.

Despite missing Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and David Alaba, Pep Guardiola’s men managed to keep the Catalans relatively quiet for 77 minutes, but a Lionel Messi double and a Neymar strike eventually handed the Catalans a comfortable win, thus all but ending Bayern’s European ambitions.

“What the team’s achieved so far is entirely praiseworthy,” Sammer told the official Bayern website. “I cannot criticise the team. They fight away and give everything. Due to all the different circumstances with injuries, we’ve come up against our own limits.

“We resisted pretty well for 77 minutes against a team that’s currently on song and is probably the best in Europe at the moment, but we lost our shape at the end, and then we wanted too much.

“We’re at home in the return, and we owe it to our supporters to put on a show. First of all, we need to pick ourselves up and digest the result.”

The return will take place at the Allianz Arena on May 12.

Bayern threw it away against Barcelona – Boateng

The Germany international was unable to hide his disappointment with his side’s performance in the final 15 minutes of Wednesday’s encounter

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has voiced his frustration with the way the Bundesliga champions folded in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the 77th minute and then left Boateng on the ground as he turned the Germany international inside out on his way to his second goal – a delightful chip over goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The Argentina international then teed up Neymar for Barca’s third goal deep into stoppage time.

Boateng was unable to hide his anger with how the Bavarian club finished the game as he felt the Bavarians were in control for large parts.

“We played well for 70 minutes. You didn’t have the feeling it might go wrong at the back but then we’ve made a mistake,” Boateng told Bayern’s website after the match.

“Obviously I’m angry that we folded after that and threw the game away.

“We need team unity now. Our target must be to win in Munich.”

Bayern experienced a similarly poor first leg in the quarter-finals, losing 3-1 at Porto before turning the tie around with a 6-1 triumph at home.

'Lionel Messi just happened' – Henry lauds Barcelona star's masterclass

The Argentina international scored twice and laid on an assist for Neymar as Luis Enrique’s side ran out comprehensive 3-0 winners over German champions Bayern Munich

Thierry Henry lavished praise on Barcelona forward Lionel Messi after the Argentine inspired his side to a 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

After a breathless first half at Camp Nou, Messi scored twice before setting up Neymar for a potentially vital third in injury time.

Messi’s second – a delicate chip over Manuel Neuer – came at the expense of Jerome Boateng, who slipped as he tried to thwart the forward, and Henry was left bewitched by the 27-year-old’s performance.

“Once again, how many times [are] we going to say that Lionel Messi just happened? That’s just what happened tonight,” Henry, who won the 2009 Champions League with the Argentine, told Sky Sports.

“I think, as we talked about, Bayern didn’t approach the game the right way at the beginning, but in the second half there wasn’t a lot between the two teams. But then Lionel Messi decided to win that game.

“Although you have to give a lot of credit to Dani Alves on that first goal because he got that ball back.

“But Lionel Messi is just superb. How many times are we going to find ourselves being in that situation and talking about him? He wanted to win that game and he did it again.”

Guardiola: Bayern were in control… then Messi showed his class

The former Barcelona boss admits his side have been left with an almost impossible task after the Argentine inspired the hosts to a commanding victory

Lionel Messi’s class was the difference between Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the latter’s 3-0 defeat on Wednesday, according to Pep Guardiola.

The Argentine – who shot to worldwide prominence while Guardiola was in charge of Barcelona – put the Bavarians to the sword with a late double which turned the well-balanced Champions League semi-final on its head at Camp Nou.

Neymar added insult to injury with a stoppage-time strike, avenging the three-goal triumph secured by Bayern on their last trip to Catalunya in 2013 and leaving the German champions with an almost impossible task in the second leg.

“Bayern did well for a long time,” Guardiola, whose side restricted Barca to their lowest possession in a Champions League game since 2006, told reporters. “But then Messi showed his class. Barca aren’t just him, though – they’re a strong team, with other top individuals like Luis Suarez and Neymar.

“Barca are so good that they find spaces wherever they want to. It’s the talent of their team that left us on the losing end, playing at Camp Nou is so hard.

“However, I think we actually controlled the game until the first Barca goal. We lost our grip after that, though, but I won’t blame any of my players. The team have gone through a lot of difficult situations this season.”

Guardiola was unremittingly bleak when assessing the Bundesliga champions’ chances of reaching the final in Berlin on June 6, adding: “You can turn around a one or two-goal deficit, but three goals is tough.”

Bayern now host Augsburg on Saturday – when they are almost certain to field a second-string side, having already wrapped up the league title last month – before playing host to the Catalans next Tuesday.

The winner of this semi-final will face either Real Madrid or Juventus, with the Italians holding a 2-1 advantage after the first leg on Tuesday in Turin.