Antonio Conte: Lionel Messi is the kind of player born once every 50 years

• Chelsea manager lavishes praise on his side’s tormentor
• ‘We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world‘

Antonio Conte has praised Lionel Messi as the kind of talent who emerges only once every half-century after the Barcelona forward registered his 100th Champions League goal en route to eliminating Chelsea from the competition. Messi, who had failed to score in his first eight appearances against the London club, hit three of Barça’s four goals over the two legs and set up Ousmane Dembélé for the other, the secondon Wednesday night, as La Liga’s champions-elect progressed into the quarter-finals. Conte, having thanked his own players for their efforts, sought out the opposition forward at the final whistle to express admiration at his display as they departed the turf. “A fantastic player moved the final result, moved the qualification over the two legs,” the Italian said.

Related: Lionel Messi seals Barcelona’s defeat of Chelsea with double dose of sorcery

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