Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola admits he is running out of superlatives to describe Lionel Messi following another stunning performance from the Argentinian.
Messi hit three goals at Real Zaragoza, his second hat-trick in as many league games, to take his tally to 34 in all competitions and 11 in the last five matches.
The 22-year-old could have had a late fourth but he was tripped in the area and Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted the penalty to secure the Catalans a 4-2 victory.
“Put in the superlatives yourselves, I’m running out,” Guardiola told journalists after the match. “It’s already been a while now that he has been outstanding.
“He’s more than decisive in every way.
“That he’s capable of doing everything that he does at his age is something impressive, that doesn’t make any sense.”
Messi was a doubt before the match as he was suffering from a dental abscess.
“It wasn’t an infection in the tooth, it was in the gum. He was in a lot of pain. But in the morning I asked him how he was and he told me that he was better,” added the Barca boss.
“Before the game I asked if he wanted to play and he said yes, I asked him how many minutes and he told me the whole game.
“He always wants to play, whether it’s the Champions League final or against a third-division side.
“For me it’s difficult to leave him out, seeing the form he’s in.
“He’s an amateur in this sense, he always wants to play.
“Obviously his game has a great impact on our team. The day he’s not there we will respond, knowing that with him we are better. There are others who will take on the responsibility that he is doing.”
Messi has scored 25 goals in the Primera Division and he currently trails Wayne Rooney by a solitary gioal in the race for the ESM Golden Shoe.
Barca president Joan Laporta believes the FIFA World Player of the Year is on course to become the world’s best ever player.
He said: “Messi has once again shown that he is a wonderful player and that he is, without doubt, the leader of Barcelona.
“He is the best player in the world and the best in the history of football.
“Along with (Johan) Cruyff and (Diego) Maradona he is the best player we have seen at Barca.”