Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has hailed club captain Lionel Messi, after another record breaking year for the Argentinian.
Messi netted his 13th La Liga goal of the season in the 4-1 win over Alaves, bringing him up to 50 for the calendar year, for the ninth time in his career at the Camp Nou.
The landmark goals means he has hit 50 goalsfor the sixth successive season, and his manager is in no doubt about his enduring quality and value to the team.
“Having Leo in the team is always an advantage,” he told Marca in his post-match press conference.
“He can appear from nowhere, and score at anytime.”
Messi has finished as La Liga’s top scorer for the last three successive seasons, with 37, 34 and 36 goals respectively, and his main challengers this season again look to be Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.
He is also strong favourite to win a fourth consecutive European Golden shoe in 2020, Bundesliga pair Robert Lewandowksi and Timo Werner, and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy the only players with more domestic goals than him so far this season.