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Cruyff praises ´simply brilliant´ Messi

14 March 2013 13:05

Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff has hailed Lionel Messi in the wake of his double in his side's 4-0 win over AC Milan on Tuesday.

The Argentina international netted twice before the interval as Barca pulled off a remarkable comeback after losing the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie.

Cruyff had nothing but praise for the prolific attacker.

"Messi was simply brilliant. What he did had nothing to do with the team's performance. It was all his individual quality that came to the fore," Cruyff told NOS.

"Because the rest of the team had a good game as well, he got the extra yard of space to do what he did, and he's very well capable of pulling it off in a situation like that.

"It really was a wonderful game."

The Dutchman laughed off suggestions Barcelona's dominance was weakening.

"It's utter nonsense to say that. It doesn't make any sense to say it's the end of Barca's era," Cruyff said.

Cruyff also had his say on the situation of Tito Vilanova, and stressed the Barca coach's absence could hurt his team.

"There's not really a leader to give directions when things are bad. Eleven players cannot make do without a leader," he said.

"(Pep) Guardiola used to be that leader. A player cannot take that role."

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