Lionel Messi v Stuttgart

“The best players are always in the thick of the action. Jordan did it with the Bulls, Bryant does it with the Lakers and Leo does it here. We want him to stay with us because he’s the best and we wouldn’t swap him for anyone.” – Pep Guardiola.

“It is kind of ridiculous what he’s doing. He’s amazing. I don’t know if you can say he’s playing better. He’s maintaining what he was doing, he’s playing at a level where nobody from Barcelona wants him to stop.” – Thierry Henry.

The superlatives were once again flowing at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night as Lionel Messi produced another masterclass, and arguably his best performance of the season, to lead Barcelona’s rout of Stuttgart.

Messi was predominantly played down the middle against the Bundesliga side, as he did against Manchester United in last season’s Champions League final. The diminutive Argentinean was involved in every Barca attack and was simply irresistble. He could well have had his second hat-trick of the week with a fine run at the death.

Just to underline the form he is in, Messi’s brace was his seventh goal in three games in a total of nine scored by Barcelona. The Catalan giants had been struggling for form (losing at Atletico and drawing at Almeria) but it looks like the world’s best player has led the European champions back to winning ways.

Lionel Messi’s individual highlights v Stuttgart can be seen on this video.