We’re blessed to watch Lionel Messi masterclass – Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand claimed Lionel Messi might just be the greatest player who ever lived – and says watching him in the flesh is something he can one day tell his grandchildren about.

After what was a fairly quite game by his standards, Messi came to the fore in the final 15 minutes scoring a tap-in and then one of the best free-kicks of his glittering career.

That goal made it 600 club goals for Barcelona – an astonishing feat – as Barcelona took a giant step towards the Champions League final with a 3-0 firs-leg victory over Liverpool in their semi-final. His heroics certainly left Reds manager Jurgen Klopp to do little but stand and admire.

Messi’s astonishing free-kick saw him net what was the 600th goal of his Barca career – and BT Sports pundit Ferdinand was left in awe by his brilliance.

“Lionel Messi’s a phenomenal player. He’s got everything. He’s one of the best ever, if not the best,” Ferdinand said.

“I’m delighted to be here, I feel blessed. This is the stuff I can tell my kids about. He can decide a game as and when he chooses.

“The way he appreciates team-mates, when he’s running at high speed, his distribution, his timing of the passes, his decision-making… it’s all phenomenal.”

Once Messi had netted his first of the evening – a routine tap-in – Ferdinand felt it was only a matter of time before he truly stamped his mark on the game.

“Once again, that man on your screen there has decided ‘I will take this game over and take the game off the opposing team,'” he added.

“The free-kick was unbelievable. The keeper could maybe do better than he did but Messi’s that good. He can decide a game of this level, at the top level, as and when he decides.

“Liverpool, as much as you can talk about Barcelona, they’ve missed big chances in this game.”

The Reds now face a mammoth task to reach a second successive Champions League final, though Klopp was clearly refusing to go down without a fight.


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