Former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has hailed Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, stating that it is easier to win the Champions League with him than against him.
Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid remains the only team to prevent Pep Guardiola from winning a league title since the Spaniard first took charge of the Catalan outfit in 2008.
Barcelona, now under yet another former player in Luis Enrique, have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, with their star forward Lionel Messi taking his tally to three goals against Arsenal over the two legs of the Round of 16 tie.
Mourinho hails Messi
The Portuguese manager is known for his uncompromising team-oriented philosophy, but has admitted that players like Lionel Messi do make a huge difference to any team they play for.
Mourinho told BT Sport: “First of all it’s about individual players. Just to give you an example, Messi won the Champions League with three different managers.
“I think it’s easier to win with him, than against him. I am a football team manager. I know that sometimes people think that the individual is more important than the team.
“But the obvious reality is that there are some players who can make a difference.”
The Messi impact
Having been instrumental in the treble win last season, the Argentine international has been, once again, the key to Barcelona’s rise to the top of La Liga. He has also played an important role in the Blaugrana’s run to the final of the Spanish Cup, and their recent progress into the Champions League quarter-finals.
Messi has scored 37 goals in 37 games this season, assisting a further 17 goals, despite missing a fairly big chunk of the first half of the season due to an injury.
Finishing last season as the top scorer for the Catalans and winning a record 5th Ballon d’Or has evidently not diminished the hunger of the ‘Little Flea’.
It is easy to see why a manager like Mourinho, who has often locked horns against the Argentine and his team-mates, would rather play with him in the side than against him.