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Messi the greatest - Enrique

International Sports

Lionel Messi Lionel Messi Barcelona boss Luis Enrique says Lionel Messi is the best player ever as the Argentine prepares to make his 100th Champions League appearance.

Messi, 28, is set for his century when Barcelona open the defence of their crown in the Group E game at Roma.

"Messi isn't just the best player in the world, he's the best the game has ever seen," said Enrique.

Barcelona will be aiming to become the first side in 26 years to retain Europe's top trophy.

The last side to do so was AC Milan in 1990 and this year's final will take place at the Italian club's San Siro ground in May.

"The goal of winning a second consecutive Champions League does not bring added pressure," added Enrique, who coached Roma in 2011-12.

"We'll try to do it but it's not pressure - quite the opposite.

"When the ball starts to move there are no champions and no favourites but 32 teams who want to win the title."

Roma have finished second in the league for the past two Serie A seasons and coach Rudi Garcia says his side do not have any specific plans to stop Messi.

Messi is three behind Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the Champions League goalscoring charts after the Real Madrid forward took his tally to 80 with a hat-trick against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.

"We don't have an anti-Messi plan, just as there isn't one to stop (Luis) Suarez or (Andres) Iniesta," said Garcia.

"As (midfielder) Daniele De Rossi has said, you deal with the threat collectively, both in attack and defence."

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