FC Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde lavish praise on the “Incredible” Lionel Messi after the star forward helped his side secure three points to a hard-fought win at Athletic Bilbao.
Messi breaks the deadlock in the 36th minute before Paulinho sealed a tough 2-0 win for Barca, who were tried at San Mames on Saturday.
Lionel Messi released Jordi Alba down the left before getting on the end of a return pass to smash home his 12th LaLiga goal of the season.
Valverde was again brimming with laud for the 30-year-old, who has registered 16 goals in all 15 competition this season.
“Messi could have scored another goal if the post hadn’t got in the way, but he’s incredible,” he said.
“He can make the difference at any moment. It was a spectacular goal.
Barca are four points clear atop LaLiga after winning nine of their opening 10 games, conceding just three goals.
Valverde was relieved to come away with three points against a club he played for and coached.
“It is important to win difficult games. Athletic caused us lots of difficulties,” he said.
“They raised the intensity and the ball spent more time closer to our goal than we got it to theirs. But we have shown why our defensive record is so good.