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 noviembre 2017
|Fleetwood revels in revival as Race to Dubai drama looms|
|Pochettino fumes over refereeing decisions after derby defeat|
|I´m happy at Juventus - Allegri rejects Italy speculation|
|Lamela returns from injury for Tottenham U23s|
|Paine could keep Australia Test spot for years, says Ponting|
|Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0: Ozil and Sanchez come up trumps for Wenger|
|Kimmich: Working with Guardiola was incredible|
|Rose pushes clear as Fleetwood finishes with a flourish|
|Hayne: Fiji slayed a giant|
|Bale thanks Coleman after Wales coach steps down|
|World Cup exit not a negative, insists Kiwis skipper Blair|
|Kane & Alli fit for Spurs at Arsenal, Lacazette starts|
|Sri Lanka close in on first-innings lead in Kolkata|
|Sydney leapfrog slapstick Jets at A-League summit|
|Hamilton: I learned nothing from Rosberg|
|Christensen guides the way for Loftus-Cheek & Abraham at Chelsea|
|Mertens: Sarri´s tactics give Napoli 12 men|
|Bayliss finds positives despite England´s toil|
|Aubameyang back in Dortmund fold pre-Spurs|
|Hafeez should give up bowling after third suspension – Akram|
|Moses heartbroken as Lebanon come up short|
|Fiji upset New Zealand in World Cup quarter-final|
|Marsh desperate to take Ashes chance|
|England struggle in draw against CA XI|
|Spurs erase 23-point deficit to beat Thunder|
|Tonga edge Lebanon to reach World Cup semis|
|Davis suffers concussion against Nuggets|
|Bosz laments ´ridiculous´ goals|
|Broncos GM Elway calls team ´soft´|
|Madrid have best kids stockpiled – Simeone|
|Guardiola backs Stones to get even better|
|Ibrahimovic will start with bench role, says Mourinho|
|Injections to play a friendly – Mourinho slams England over Jones handling|
|Chargers´ Rivers cleared to face Bills|
|Cook grabs RSM Classic lead|
|Nets PG Russell undergoes successful surgery|
|Championship Review: Sheffield United go top|
|Gloucester´s second-half surge stuns leaders Saracens|
|Schurrle: Dortmund couldn´t deal with Stuttgart counter-attacks|
17 de noviembre 2017
|Conte laments Italy World Cup failure|
|Murray splits with coach Lendl|
|Hartley´s Toro Rosso deal will not affect Porsche status|
|Amiens 1 Monaco 1: Jovetic rescues point but champions give PSG boost|
|Dimitrov eager to keep momentum going after easy Carreno Busta win|
|Stuttgart 2 Borussia Dortmund 1: Bosz pressure builds after more Burki mishaps|
|Sunderland target Coleman steps down as Wales manager|
|Memorable Ashes Moments: Harmison sends down woeful opening wide as England´s defence wilts|
|Conte´s wife tells him to grow a beard – Conte grows a beard|
|Simeone rules out Everton job, promising ´a couple of years at least´ at Atletico|
|Pique to miss Barcelona´s Leganes trip over personal matter|
|Serena Williams reportedly marries Alexis Ohanian in New Orleans|
|UEFA closes Roma ´monkey chanting´ case|
|Swinson set to miss Six Nations after finger surgery|
|Don´t worry about Messi renewal, Valverde tells Barcelona fans|
|Cheika disrespected referee - Jones|
|´Griezmann? We´ll see´ – Valverde won´t rule out Barcelona pursuit of Atletico star|
|Cardinals & Larry Fitzgerald agree to 2018 contract extension|
|Uncapped Enever replaces injured Coleman for Twickenham clash|
|Goffin overcomes slow start & Thiem to set up Federer semi|
|Unsworth surprised to see Allardyce snub Everton|
|Six-week stadium ban for Sale boss Diamond|
|Mourinho has ´immense respect´ for Benitez|
|Howe backs Defoe to make World Cup squad|
|Everton speculation out of my control - Silva focusing on Hornets|
|Conte concerned by Manchester City´s breakaway lead|
|Man City results ´perfect´, but Guardiola demands improvement|
|David Luiz back in Chelsea squad, Conte confirms|
|Recovered Klopp offers Liverpool fitness update|
|Guardiola confident Aguero in ´perfect´ condition despite hospital trip|
|Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Rojo back for Manchester United|