Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is enjoying being on the right side of Lionel Messi masterclasses after seeing his star man inspire a comprehensive 3-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League.
Valverde replaced Luis Enrique in the Camp Nou hotseat for this season, having led Espanyol, Villarreal, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao against the Catalan giants over the past decade.
Messi has been a majestic constant for Barca during that period and he was at his brilliant best in Tuesday's Group D opener, scoring on the stroke of half-time and completing a fabulous brace after creating the second for Ivan Rakitic.
It was a virtuoso display on the back of a hat-trick in Saturday's 5-0 derby triumph against Espanyol and one to leave Valverde purring.
"With Leo Messi, the feeling you have is that something good will always happen for us," he told reporters.
"I suffered a lot when I had to face him as a coach but now I get to enjoy him. He's involved in everything.
"The first goal just before the break changed everything. We were about to finish the first half and we had some problem because the rival was making it difficult for us.
"Nobody saw the gap and he found it, but I emphasise the involvement of Messi from all points of view.
"He is one of the best players in the history of the club, it is normal to talk about him. He also has a great tactical understanding."
A player who will one day hope to be spoken of so loftily is Barcelona's record signing Ousmane Dembele, who showed flashes of inspiration but sometimes erred in the final pass on a mixed full debut.
"It is clear that he still has to improve although he did show good moments," Valverde said.
"He has worked well but we have to go little by little. We're going forward."
Beating the team that eliminated Barcelona in last season's quarter-finals continued a fine start to life at Camp Nou for Valverde, with his team having won three out of three in LaLiga without conceding on the back of the Supercopa de Espana reverse against Real Madrid.
"There's a lot still to do but it was an important win," he added. "It's essential to win games to get the fans on our side."
18 de enero 2018
|He´s scared of me – Ferrell reveals Federer fears|
|Konta crashes out in shock Aus Open defeat to lucky loser|
|Brady limited in practice due to hand injury|
|Sharapova overcomes Sevastova in Melbourne|
|Rooney convinced me to join Everton – Walcott|
|Simeone: Sevilla deserved their win|
|Conte calls for VAR improvements|
|Neymar not angered by PSG whistles - Silva|
|FA Cup Review: Wigan dump Bournemouth out, nine-man Chelsea scrape through|
|Banvit beat Bayreuth to stay top as Gaziantep end losing streak|
|England won´t block Jones from Lions role|
|Valverde rues Barca profligacy in Espanyol defeat|
17 de enero 2018
|Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 (aet, 5-3 pens): Hazard and Caballero seal Blues progression|
|No generosity from Neymar as Cavani waits to make PSG history|
|Neymar sets Ligue 1 landmark with staggering individual display|
|Espanyol 1 Barcelona 0: Melendo ends unbeaten run|
|Paris Saint-Germain 8 Dijon 0: Neymar hits four as Cavani levels Ibrahimovic record|
|Atletico fan in ´serious condition´ after being stabbed before Sevilla game|
|Stokes ´can´t wait´ for England return after ECB clearance|
|Kawhi Leonard´s rehab shut down as quad problem lingers|
|Folger out of MotoGP season due to illness|
|Stokes should not take my place - Bairstow|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Sevilla 2: Montella´s men stage dramatic first-leg comeback|
|Steelers will not retain offensive coordinator Todd Haley|
|Lukaku will score 30 goals for Man Utd this season, predicts Yorke|
|Brady named writers´ NFL MVP|
|Du Plessis wants action on slow pitches|
|Johnson back to his best after Augusta accident|
|Liverpool loan Grujic to Cardiff|
|Centurion hero Ngidi aiming high|
|Mbappe: More to come from Neymar & Cavani partnership|
|Messi the greatest ever despite no World Cup win, insists Di Maria|
|Uncapped Larmour named in Ireland´s Six Nations squad|
|Villa determined to earn place in Spain´s World Cup squad|
|Walcott swaps Arsenal for Everton|
|Kohli bristles at selection questions|
|England forward Haskell handed four-week suspension|
|You even learn from Guardiola at home - Otamendi lauds Pep impact|
|Three-week ban for Bastareaud for alleged homophobic slur|
|IOC to consider joint Korean ice hockey team|
|Sri Lanka ODI woes drag on with Zimbabwe defeat|
|Batsmen let India down against South Africa - Kohli|
|Five fun facts as LeBron James chases 30K career points|
|Bastareaud named in France squad ahead of disciplinary hearing|
|Otamendi pens Man City deal to 2022|
|Neymar leads tributes to retiring Ronaldinho|
|Ronaldo must focus on playing - Zidane sidesteps exit talk|
|Dimitrov, Tsonga survive gruelling battles as Nadal cruises through|
|Carey ton sends Strikers back top of BBL|
|Zidane still an idol for James despite ´sad´ Madrid exit|
|Stoger will stay at Dortmund if ´everything fits´|
|Nadal backs move for financial parity but silent on boycott talk|
|Stokes available for England selection, set for NZ return|
|Bordeaux´s Malcom facing disciplinary action over social media video|
|Debutant Ngidi hurries SA to series win as India crumble in Centurion|
|Eddie Jones signs new England contract|
|Ronaldinho retires – The greatest Brazilians to play for Barcelona|
|England setting the benchmark in ODIs, says Warner|
|Federer would be unreal at any sport - Shapovalov|
|Athletic reward Williams with contract until 2025|
|Nadal too good for Mayer at Australian Open|
|Jones taking unlikely inspiration from City in United´s title pursuit|
|I had one foot out of the Australian Open – Wozniacki revels in fightback|
|Beware the nearly beaten in Melbourne – Wozniacki could match Kerber, Li|
|Rallying Tsonga outlasts Shapovalov in five-set epic|
|Wozniacki saves two match points in dramatic Aus Open comeback|
|Kostyuk, 15, ready to spend after Melbourne run|
|Thomas turns down Celtics´ video tribute|
|Moyes unaware of Chelsea interest in Carroll|
|Verdi wants Bologna stay amid Napoli links|