Valverde lost for words with four-goal Messi

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde tried to find a superlative for Lionel Messi after his four goals in Tuesday’s rout of Eibar.

Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half at Camp Nou and then went on to bag a second-half hat trick after goals from Paulinho and Denis Suarez.

“He is the most intelligent player that I have ever seen on a football pitch,” Valverde said. “I don’t know what to say about Messi anymore.

“He’s churning out performances like these regularly. He does it time and time again. Him scoring four goals is no longer news.

“He loves football and enjoys playing it. You don’t know how, but he just appears. He’s extraordinary. There are no words.”

The result keeps Barca at least two points clear at the top of the Liga standings, while it was a third defeat in five matches for the Basque side.

“Eibar are a brave team,” Valverde added. “If you look at the score after the game, it seems we’ve won easily but that wasn’t the case.”