Arsène Wenger hails 'exceptional' Lionel Messi | inside World Soccer


Arsène Wenger hails 'exceptional' Lionel Messi

Friday, April 29, 2011

Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger, who once described Lionel Messi as a "playstation footballer", has once again hailed the Barcelona star as the world's best player.

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final

Photo: Getty Images

Messi scored two late goals on Wednesday night as Barcelona took a firm grip on their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid by claiming a 2-0 win at the Bernabéu.

Messi's first was an instinctive close-range finish but his second was just sensational.

Collecting the ball inside Real's half, the diminutive Argentine whizzed and waltzed past four defenders before sliding his shot past one of the world's best keepers Iker Casillas.

The goal was one of the finest goals in Champions League history and a club record 52nd of the season for the 23-year-old.

It immediately prompted one question: Is little Leo the best player of all time?

"Yes. He is that good," Wenger said of Messi.

"I have not seen all the football players, but for me he has qualities that are mental: humility, desire to play, happiness to help the team, always desire, you never see any bad reaction despite all the kicks he gets.

"When you look at the numbers, you have to kneel down and say they are fantastic. When a guy scores 52 goals in modern football and has 25 assists, when you see how difficult it is to score a goal, you just have to say it is absolutely exceptional what this player is delivering."

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