Mascherano lauds Messi magic


Published: Thursday 6th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano hailed striker Lionel Messi after he equalled the all-time record for Champions League goals in the 2-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam.

Messi equalled Raul’s record of 71 Champions League goals with a brace at the Amsterdam Arena.

The 27-year-old was gifted the opener by a howler from Holland goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen before prodding home his second in the 76th minute to move level with the record and one ahead of Raul’s successor in the Real Madrid number seven shirt, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi achieved the mark in just 90 matches to Raul’s 142, a record he now looks almost certain to break.

“It’s huge that Messi has equalled Raul,” Mascherano told

“That shows what Leo Messi is doing as a player. He’s equalled a legend like Raul, such a historic player, and he’s still only young.

“We know that he’s got a long future ahead of him and that’s very important for Leo Messi.”

The victory over Ajax meant that Barcelona qualified for the knockout stages of the competition and will now look to secure top spot in their group.

Mascherano added: “I’m happy with the win. We knew perfectly well the team did a lot of good things, but we are also aware that we need to improve. We’re on the right track and hopefully this will all serve for the future.

“Ajax controlled the ball in the first half and if they didn’t generate situations of danger, they did generate situations of control.

“We found it hard to adapt, but then Messi scored and we felt calmer. We knew we’d just lost two games, and what our opponent was doing started creating doubts among the team. So, it’s very important that we were able to win this game.”

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic hopes Barca will take this victory forward into their forthcoming games after some poor league returns.

He said: “Generally, that was a very complete job. We knew we didn’t win here last year and so we worked hard to win this time. I’d agree that early on we had some difficult moments but we worked hard and deserved to win.

“At half-time we analysed the things we were getting wrong and that helped in the second half. That’s part of football. Ajax played some strong football in the first half.

“It is always important to carry on like this. We’ve just had a difficult week. Thankfully, there’s a new game every two or three days and we’ll need to keep working for the next few games.”

Published: Thursday 6th November 2014 by The News Editor

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