Valverde hails Messi, saddened by Dembele injury

Lionel Messi was hailed by Ernesto Valverde after starring for Barcelona against Borussia Dortmund.

Valverde hails Messi, saddened by Dembele injury

Ernesto Valverde praised the "amazing" Lionel Messi after the striker led Barcelona past Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Messi scored and provided two assists in his 700th game for Barcelona, who secured top spot in Group F thanks to a 3-1 victory at Camp Nou.

Sin tituloBarcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi walkson the pitch during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on November 27, 2019. (Photo by PAU BARRENA / AFP)

While Messi and Luis Suarez combined for the first two goals, the former then set up Antoine Griezmann in the second half.

Valverde praised Messi, who broke a Champions League record by scoring against a 34th different opponent, for his performance.

"Luis and Leo understand each other perfectly because they have been together for a long time. At first it wasn't like that," the Barcelona coach said.

"Messi is an extraordinary passer and Griezmann was unmarked as well. You just have to find the timing. And of Leo's match, what am I going to say? It was amazing. It is not only what he does, but when he does it."

Griezmann started on the bench but was needed in the first half, when Ousmane Dembele came off with a thigh injury.

Valverde was disappointed for the France international, who has battled numerous injuries since his move to Barca from Dortmund in 2017.

"I don't know if it's a relapse or what leg it is. It has been a rare move because it has been in a jump, in which the leg has gone backwards. I don't know," he said. Right now we are sad for him because we are qualified but the bad news is the injury. We know he is suffering and we will see if we can help him."