Luis Enrique believes Lionel Messi would be the best player in the world wherever he plays on the pitch after watching the Argentine score the 40th hat-trick of his career in Barcelona’s 7-0 win against Celtic.
It was Messi’s sixth treble in the history of the Champions League — more than any other player — and the first goal arrived in just the third minute. A dazzling exchange of passes with Neymar led to the second before Luis Suarez teed up the third in the second half.
And despite standout performances from several players — including Neymar, who created four goals and scored a free kick — it was Messi who Luis Enrique was once again left purring about.
“Messi’s the best in the world in every position,” the Barca coach said in his post-game news conference. “He plays with complete freedom to change his position as he wants.
“If he plays as a No.9, No.8 or No.6, he’s the best No.9, No.8 or No.6 in the world. He can judge the perfect pass from 40 yards; he can put the ball wherever he wants. For me, he’s the best player of all time.”
Neymar, Luis Suarez’s brace and Andres Iniesta’s thumping volley completed the rout as Barca sealed their biggest-ever win in Europe and inflicted the largest Champions League defeat on a former winner of the competition.
Amid suggestions Celtic disappointed, Luis Enrique felt regardless of which team the Blaugrana faced the winning margin would have been a big one. “I didn’t expect more from them, no,” he said. “I’ve not had the chance to see the goals back yet, but against that type of pressure there’s very little any rival can do.
“Apart from the foul in the first half which resulted in a penalty, we didn’t commit any errors in the game. It was a spectacular performance from the off.
“We saw a team enjoying themselves — and all the fans, too. We recovered the ball really quickly and that allowed us to enjoy ourselves.”