Valverde: Better with Messi than against him

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde says it is easier to appreciate the talent of Lionel Messi when he’s scoring for you rather than against you.

As the former manager of La Liga sides Espanyol, Villarreal, Valencia, and Athletic Bilbao, Valverde knows what it’s like when the Argentinian No. 10 does damage.

He will, therefore, have felt some sympathy for Juventus as Messi scored twice in their 3-0 Champions League win at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

“You always think when he gets the ball that only good things can happen for the team,” Valverde told AS.

“I suffered a lot when I had to face him and now I’m enjoying him. He was heavily involved in everything.

“We played against one of last season’s finalists, we kept a clean sheet and we scored three goals. It was vital to get off to a winning start in the group stage.”

“If you give him space he’s unstoppable,” was the verdict of Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri. “He shot three times and scored two goals and hit the post.”