Guardiola lauds "outrageous" Messi

MADRID - Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola described Lionel Messi's achievements as "outrageous" after the World Player of the Year produced another masterclass in Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League win at Real Madrid.

The Argentina forward's two goals in the semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu, which gave Barca a huge advantage for next week's second leg, took his tally for the Catalan club to 179 and put him ahead of Josep Samitier on their list of all-time top scorers.

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The 23-year-old has 52 goals in all competitions this season and 11 in 11 games in the Champions League, putting him three clear on the scoring chart he also topped in the last two editions of Europe's elite club competition.

"That's the good fortune that we have, to be able to be a colleague of his," Guardiola said.

"It's not the first time he has done it," he added of Messi's second goal on Wednesday, a trademark weaving run that left several defenders trailing in his wake followed by a clinical finish.

"At the age of just 23 he is the third highest scorer in the history of Barca. It's outrageous.

"But that's the beauty of our football and our game."

Messi now has Ladislao Kubala and Cesar Rodriguez in his sights who have 194 and 235 goals for Barca respectively.