Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has hailed Lionel Messi following his record-equaling feat in last night’s 2-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam in the Uefa Champions League.
Messi equaled Raul Gonzalez’s all-time record for most Champions League goals with a brace at the Amsterdam Arena.
Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen’s gaff gifted the opener to the Argentine forward, who then poked home his second on 76 minutes to draw level with Raul on 71 goals and move ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo by a goal.
“It’s huge that Messi has equalled Raul,” Mascherano told fcbarcelona.com.
“That shows what Leo Messi is doing as a player. He’s equalled a legend like Raul, such a historic player, and he’s still only young. We know that he’s got a long future ahead of him and that’s very important for Leo Messi.”
Barca sealed their passage into the knockout stages of the championship with Wednesday night’s win and can still top the group.
Mascherano added: “I’m happy with the win. We knew perfectly well the team did a lot of good things, but we are also aware that we need to improve. We’re on the right track and hopefully this will all serve for the future.
“Ajax controlled the ball in the first half and if they didn’t generate situations of danger, they did generate situations of control. We found it hard to adapt, but then Messi scored and we felt calmer. We knew we’d just lost two games, and what our opponent was doing started creating doubts among the team. So, it’s very important that we were able to win this game.”