FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde reserves special praise for Lionel Messi


FC Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde had special praise for Lionel Messi, who netted his 52nd career hat-trick on Saturday evening.

The Argentine netted two free-kicks and a penalty as the Catalan giants romped to a 4-1 triumph over Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou.

While it was Messi's 52nd career hat-trick, he now moves level with Cristiano Ronaldo on 34 LaLiga hat-tricks - the most in Spanish top flight history.

READ: Messi hat-trick guides Barca to big win

Valverde claims opponents are now afraid make fouls close to the 18-yard box due to the Argentine's prolific range from dead-ball situations.

"With Leo in the team, anything is possible," Valverde was quoted as saying by Marca. 
"Free kicks are something he has mastered down to an art."
"He is so dangerous, that opposition sides know they cannot commit fouls around the box."
"If they do, they know Messi can punish them."