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Messi hails Ronaldo’s ‘magical’ night

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Lionel Messi praised Cristiano Ronaldo’s “magical” performance for Juventus against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday after helping Barcelona join the Italians in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Ronaldo scored a hat trick as Juve overturned a first leg loss in Madrid to beat Atletico 3-2 on aggregate and book their place in the last eight.

Messi responded by scoring twice and adding two assists on Wednesday as Barca hammered Lyon 5-1 after drawing the first leg 0-0 in France last month.

“What Cristiano and Juventus did on Tuesday was impressive,” Messi told Catalunya Radio. “It was a big surprise. I thought Atletico would be a lot stronger, but Juve were all over them and Cristiano had a magical night.”

Messi’s Barca could potentially face Ronaldo’s Juve in the last eight if the two sides are paired together in Friday’s draw for the next round, but the Argentine would not be drawn on who they would prefer to face in the quarterfinals.

“We don’t want to choose one [side] because they’re all really tough,” Messi said. “[Manchester] City, Juventus, Ajax, who have a great team of kids and don’t fear anything, Liverpool, who’ve shown they pack a punch…

“We’re relaxed and what we have to prepare for is the toughest test possible, which is what’s coming now in the final stage of the season.”

Messi opened the scoring against Lyon from the penalty spot before Philippe Coutinho doubled the home side’s lead at Camp Nou before the break.

Lucas Tousart’s effort pulled Lyon back into the tie briefly and Messi, who scored Barca’s third and then created goals for Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele, admitted the Catalans almost let things get away from them.

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