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You can’t keep tabs on Messi, Boateng confesses

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Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (left) leaves Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng stranded en route one of his goals during their UEFA Champions League clash at the Camp Nou…on Wednesday. PHOTO: AFP.

• Sacchi compares Argentine to Maradona

After being bamboozled by the magic of Lionel Messi, Jerome Boateng conceded it is impossible to keep the Argentinian’s quality under wraps.

Jerome Boateng paid tribute to the quality of Lionel Messi after the Barcelona man mesmerised the World Cup winner on Wednesday.

Messi was in sublime form in the first leg of Barca’s UEFA Champions League semi-final with Bayern Munich at Camp Nou, scoring twice in a 3-0 win. After smashing in the first from the edge of the area, Messi ghosted past Boateng, leaving the defender on his backside before clipping the ball beyond Manuel Neuer.

Neymar added a third in stoppage time to effectively wrap up the  tie at the halfway stage and, like the rest of the watching world, Boateng was quick to praise the Argentine magician. “You can’t keep tabs on such a quality individual,” he told the DFB’s official website.

“You can only manage to reduce their threat as a team and, as shown by the closing stages, that certainly takes a lot out of you. “You can’t keep Messi out of the game for 90 minutes.

We did really well to limit his influence for the first 70, but then you have to continue to defend as a team. “After falling behind, which shouldn’t happen in the first place, you can’t then allow the other team to further increase their advantage.”

Also speaking on the UEFA Champions League game between Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp, former Italy coach, Arrigo Sacchi, says Messi reminds him of former Argentina Captain, Diego Maradona.

“Messi has overcome a difficult period and has found back his extraordinary form,” Sacchi was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport. “He is a unique and very complete player. He is a lethal finisher, but he is also able to drop into midfield and help the team.

“It is impossible to man-mark someone like him. The entire team and tactics have to be perfect in order to keep him quiet. “We are looking at a true football genius. He is like Maradona.

There is no one around in the game with his abilities.” The Barcelona forward has netted 53 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions in 2014-15.


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