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Lionel Messi hails 'magical' Ronaldo

Barca joined Juve in the last eight after Messi’s two goals and two assists inspired a 5-1 rout of Lyon.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Image: Tullio M. Puglia

LIONEL MESSI HAILED Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick performance against Atletico Madrid as “magical” following his own dazzling display for Barcelona in the Champions League.

Ronaldo equalled Messi’s Champions League hat-trick record with his eighth in Juventus’ 3-0 victory over Atletico on Tuesday – the treble sealing a stunning 3-2 aggregate triumph en route to the quarter-finals.

Barca joined Juve in the last eight after Messi’s two goals and two assists inspired a 5-1 rout of Lyon at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

While Messi produced another brilliant performance, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner praised Ronaldo’s display 24 hours earlier.

“A lot of things I liked about the Champions League,” Messi told Movistar after Barca’s match.

“Yesterday, Cristiano and Juventus impressed me. I thought Atletico would be stronger. Cristiano had a magical night with all three goals.”

The last-16 tie between Barca and Lyon was evenly poised following last month’s goalless draw in France.

Barca put five goals past Lyon but it was not all smooth sailing for the LaLiga champions, who led 2-0 after 31 minutes thanks to Messi and Philippe Coutinho, only for Lucas Tousart to pull a goal back when the game was approaching the hour-mark.

However, Barca put the tie beyond doubt with three late goals within eight minutes from Messi, Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele to see off the Ligue 1 visitors.

“We complicated ourselves only in a set-piece action,” Messi said. “We spent minutes of suffering, [but] with 3-1 everything calmed down.

“We went from the start to look for it, when we found the goal we handled the ball better, we moved it calmly, saw the best version.”

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