Peter Crouch has labelled Lionel Messi a ‘genius’ after scoring a sensational solo goal in Barcelona’s 3-1 win against Napoli.
Any chance of a shot appeared to have disappeared for the Barcelona star when he went tumbling inside the box under pressure from three players.
But the 33-year-old quickly scrambled back onto his feet before dragging the ball into a favourable shooting position.
Lionel Messi just never fails to amaze 🤩
Doesn’t matter how many defenders try and stop him, he’s on a different level!#Club2020 pic.twitter.com/dDCggick5q
Messi then appeared to lose balance again but the Argentina international still managed to curl an effort that was too good for David Ospina into the far corner.
And speaking to BT Sport, former Liverpool and Tottenham striker Crouch paid tribute to Messi’s uniqueness in that situation.
‘He’s just a genius,’ Crouch said.
‘He’s the only player in the world who can get up and have three unbelievable touches and curl it in.’
The incredible strike from Messi also received glowing adulation from Twitter users far and wide.
One wrote: ‘Barca can use 10 cones and add Messi at Camp Nou and they will still win the match’.
Another added: ‘Players should have to pay a fee to play with Messi’, while another user claimed their opponents would have preferred the game not to take place, stating: ‘Napoli being made to wish they were still on lockdown right now. Messi isn’t human.
However, another took a rather more sombre approach to the goal, appreciating that these type of mesmeric performances from Messi will not be around for too much longer.
The user wrote: ‘It will be a sad day for football when Messi eventually retires from the sport. There’ll never be another player like him, pure genius,’ followed by a goat emoji.
Messi’s magic came sandwiched in between Clement Lenglet’s opener and Luis Suarez’s first-half penalty.
Lorenzo Insigne then scored an even later penalty in added time at the end of the first half to give Serie A outfit Napoli some hope, but they succumbed to a 4-2 aggregate defeat.
Messi will now be seeking to win his first Champions League title since 2015 ahead of the Champions League tournament beginning next week.
The Catalan giants will face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, who beat Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate to qualify for the quarter-finals.