Vintage Lionel Messi provides yet another reminder of his greatness

Jan Vertonghen is one of several absentees for Spurs

Messi scored Barca's third and fourth goals at Wembley.

"Our players were heroes because they were chasing the game against Messi, Suárez, Coutinho".

After going 2-0 up Barcelona threatened to run away with things but goals from Harry Kane and Erik Lamela pulled it back to 2-1 and 3-2 before Messi finished off Spurs late on.

Messi was toying with Tottenham and it seemed only a matter of how many Barcelona would win by when he glided away for a shot that struck a post early in the second half. But what was it like to play against him?

Messi now has five goals in just two European games this season, having scored a hat trick against PSV Eindhoven last month.

His performance was so impressive that he was widely compared to Barca legend Xavi on social media and by pundit Rio Ferdinand, who hailed his "magnificent Xavi-esque" display in helping put on "a clinic" in dominating a game. We were handicapped against Barcelona after conceding after one minute.

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Can Spurs salvage anything from this game, or have Barcelona already picked up all three points?

The Catalan giants got off to a flawless start as an error in judgment from Hugo Lloris allowed Jordi Alba to pick out Philippe Coutinho for the simple tap-in.

Barcelona were vulnerable so they said, but on a pitch scarred from hosting British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua's fight against Alexander Povetkin they took only two minutes to catch Spurs in the solar plexus.

The lead was short-lived, though, and Messi restored Barca's two-goal lead within five minutes. His floated pass was chested down by Luis Suarez to Coutinho whose volley sliced up in the air before the quick-thinking Brazilian hooked the ball back to Rakitic who rifled a picture-perfect right-foot volley in off the post from 25 yards.

Perhaps he is becoming to Barcelona what Karim Benzema is for Real Madrid - a tireless centre-forward whose worth to the team is far greater than what he delivers in the goals column. "The UEFA Champions League puts a cherry on top of every season, but in order to win it, you have to keep your chances of winning La Liga alive until the end". Sure, they missed the pace and dominant aerial ability of the suspended Samuel Umtiti as Harry Kane in particular bullied their back line in the second half.

Losing Eriksen, Alli, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen through injury ahead of such a big night was a cruel blow for Pochettino.

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