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UEFA Champions League

Messi Praises Rival Ronaldo For 'Magic' Performance

After FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi scored two goals and assisted two strikes in his side's 5-1 thumping of Olympique Lyon, the Argentine commented on longstanding rival Cristiano Ronaldo's performance the night before.

Click through the gallery above to see some images of Messi's superb game against Lyon.

The 31-year-old netted Barca's opening strike against the French club with a cheeky panenka penalty early in the game before adding his second after the break. In addition, he also assisted the Blaugrana's final two goals to help his team progress 5-1 on aggregate.

As a result of his goals, Messi took his tally for the current UEFA Champions League campaign to eight strikes – the joint-highest alongside Robert Lewandowski, whose Bayern Munich were knocked out by Liverpool on Wednesday.

The Argentine's Man of the Match performance came a day after Ronaldo helped Juventus qualify for the UCL quarter-finals with a superb hat-trick against Atletico Madrid, and Messi has since praised his longstanding rival on his "magical night".

"What Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus did was impressive," he told Movistar+ after the Blaugrana's game against Lyon.

"I thought Atletico Madrid would be tougher.

"Ronaldo had a magical night with three goals."

Watch: Giggs on Messi & Ronaldo

Barca, meanwhile, have now won their past 12 UCL round of 16 ties, and have joined Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Ajax Amsterdam, Porto and Juventus in the quarter-finals.

Messi, though, refused to comment on which opponent he would prefer in the next round.

"All of the opponents are complicated," he added.

"Ajax, for example, showed that they're an amazing team of youngsters and they don't fear anyone.

"It'll be difficult no matter who we face. We have to prepare ourselves for a tough challenge."

Overall, Messi has now scored 36 goals and assisted another 21 strikes in 36 appearances for Barca so far this season.

Read: Messi Reaches Incredible Personal Milestone

The UCL quarter-final draw will take place at 13:00, SA time, on Friday 15 March, and Soccer Laduma will bring you all the updates on our website and social media channels.

Messi or Ronaldo – who do you think has the bigger chance of winning the UCL this season? Have your say in the comments section below.

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