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Thiago Motta hails 'phenomenon' Verratti

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta has voiced his admiration for Marco Verratti following his compatriot's fine performances in the first half of the season.

Verratti has been a key figure for the reigning Ligue 1 champions, who are already 19 points clear after 19 matches of the 2015-16 campaign.

And veteran Motta is thoroughly enjoying playing alongside the 23-year-old.

"Marco is a phenomenon," Thiago Motta told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He is still young, but has already gained so much experience.

"He really is a strong player. He can do it all in the middle of the park."

Motta then went on to discuss his side's lofty Champions League ambitions, with Chelsea awaiting Laurent Blanc's men in the first knockout stage.

"Winning the Champions League is a major challenge, because small things are decisive in the round of 16 and later on in the competition," he said.

"We came in second in our group and now face Chelsea. Of course, it will not be easy, but we will give our all to try to go all the way."

PSG have made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in their past three attempts, losing to Barcelona in 2012-13, Chelsea last year and then Barca again last season.