Lionel Messi Hails Cristiano Ronaldo's 'Magical' Night Against Atletico Madrid

We have this idea that they are rivals desperate to one-up another but Lionel Messi has heaped praise on Cristiano Ronaldo following his incredible hat-trick display against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg and in serious danger of exiting the competition at the round of 16 stage, Ronaldo did exactly what he told his family he would do prior to the game - score an eighth Champions League hat-trick to completely turn the tie around and send the Bianconeri through to the quarter finals.

The 34-year-old levelled matters on aggregate with two incredible headed goals and then, in dramatic fashion, Juventus were given a penalty in the 86th minute when Federico Bernardeschi was fouled inside the area and Ronaldo nervelessly smashed in his 63rd Champions League knockout goal.

It was his fourth hat-trick against Atleti, who must be absolute sick of him now - given they have been knocked out of every Champions League they have been in since 2013/14 by a team containing CR7.

And though Messi thought Diego Simeone's side would make it more difficult for the Bianconeri, he hailed the match-winning display his fellow five-time Ballon d'Or winner churned in.

"What Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus did was impressive," the Barcelona skipper said after the 5-1 thrashing of Lyon at the Nou Camp, as per MARCA.

"I thought Atletico Madrid would be tougher. Ronaldo had a magical night with three goals."

After seeing Ronaldo run riot on Tuesday night, fans were keen to see how Messi would respond a day later against Lyon and he did not disappoint.

He scored twice - including a Panenka penalty and a archetypal solo goal - in addition to setting up goals for Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele in the last ten minutes.

Just the 55 goals and assists for the Argentine in all competitions this term. Silly numbers.

Messi was asked about who he wants in tomorrow's quarter final draw and stressed the quality of the teams, giving props to Ajax for their sensational win over holders Real Madrid.

"All of the opponents are complicated," the 31-year old stated.

"Ajax, for example, showed that they're an amazing team of youngsters and they don't fear anyone. It'll be difficult no matter who we face.

"We have to prepare ourselves for a tough challenge."

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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