Barcelona's Lionel Messi is the best player ever, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday after the Spanish side eliminated the Bavarians 5-3 on aggregate to reach next month's Champions League final.
"He is the best player of all time," Guardiola said. "I compare him with Pele. I am so happy to see this football."
Messi, who is enjoying a sensational season and has scored 10 goals in Europe's elite competition alone, destroyed Bayern in Barca's 3-0 first-leg win after scoring twice last week.
The diminutive Argentine was again instrumental as Barcelona eased into the European Cup final for an eighth time.
"He is back, he is there where I had the privilege to train him," Guardiola, who twice won the Champions League with the 27-year-old in his four years at Barca between 2008-2012, told reporters. "He is definitely back at his best."
Messi, who last made the final under Guardiola in 2011 when they Barca won it, has also scored 40 goals in La Liga this season as the Spanish side chase a treble of titles.
Bayern Munich vs Barcelona player ratings
Bayern Munich vs Barcelona player ratings
1/22 Neuer 5
Far from his impregnable best, the big German was left stranded for Barca’s first goal and beaten at his near post for the second.
2/22 Rafinha 5
Was ineffective at both ends of the pitch tonight. The full-back was typically tidy in possession but couldn’t get anywhere near the dangerous Neymar.
3/22 Boateng 5
Finished the first leg on his back side and didn’t cover himself in glory tonight either. An absolute shadow of his stunning World Cup winning form.
4/22 Benatia 5
His header gave Bayern hope early on but equally killed off their chances with some shocking defending. Failed to assert any control on the Barca front three.
5/22 Bernat 7
Tried to get forward at every opportunity but his attacking exploits left Bayern light at the back when Barca broke away. One of Bayern’s better performers.
6/22 Lahm 6
A night to forget for the Germany captain. Largely ineffective in his new central midfield role, Lahm only came into the game when he retreated to wide positions.
7/22 Thiago 7
Looked very busy against his old club and was probably the pick of Bayern’s midfield ranks. Tenacious pressing interrupted the probing of Busquets and Iniesta.
8/22 Alonso 6
As always impeccable in possession but failed to create many chances from his deep midfield role. The Spaniard gave next to no support to his defence who were repeatedly overrun
9/22 Schweinsteiger 6
The World Cup winner was tireless in his work ethic but couldn’t stamp his authority on the game. The midfielder was a merely a gateway to Barca’s counter attacking moves.
10/22 Muller 7
The prolific forward was always a threat and his industrious pressing didn’t go unnoticed. Linked up well with Lewandowski on countless occasions.
11/22 Lewandowski 7
The Polish striker looked a class apart once again and restore some pride to the Bayern ranks going forward. Excellent footwork and finish for the second goal.
12/22 Ter Stegen 9
The Barca keeper pulled off countless world class saves to deny the Bayern revival. Outshone his fellow countryman Neuer with ease.
13/22 Dani Alves 7
Gave Barca added width when Messi came inside and was always faultless in possession. Sensational chipped pass to Suarez for the first goal.
14/22 Pique 6
Typically assured at the back even if he struggled to deal with the impressive Lewandowski at times. Kept order at the back Bayern pressed heavily.
15/22 Mascherano 6
Once again showed his quality as a centre back even if he lost out on the physical battles with Lewandowski and Muller. Efficient sweeper.
16/22 Alba 6
Not the best night for the lightning fast left back. Got forward well as always but couldn’t deal with the movement and physical presence of Muller.
17/22 Rakitic 6
Showed his ability on the ball finding Messi and Suarez on countless occasions in the first half. His influence dipped after the break though.
18/22 Busquets 7
Classic performance from the Spaniard. Strong, clever and precise, Busquets took the sting out of the game well in the second half. Won his decisive battle with Thiago in the midfield.
19/22 Iniesta 7
Controlled Barca’s tempo in the first half unleashing Neymar and co to a devastating effect. Still has an incredible impact at this level.
20/22 Messi 7
Although he played something of an understudy role this time around, Magical Messi was still a class act behind Suarez and Neymar.
21/22 Suarez 8
Despite his early departure, Suarez played his part in ultimately killing the tie off before the break. Put both goals on a plate for Neymar.
22/22 Neymar 8
The Brazilian clinical brace ensured that he took the starring role tonight. He has now scored 8 goals in his last seven games. Deadly.
Messi's role on Tuesday was less of an executioner and more of an orchestrator as he fell deeper allowing Neymar and Luis Suarez to receive his pin-point passes.
"When Barca have the ball they are extremely strong. I hope in Berlin they can win the fifth European Cup," said former Barcelona player Guardiola, who has failed to reach the final with Bayern in his two seasons in charge.
"We tried everything. But we had a lot of problems (with injuries) and when you play with so many problems for two months and the players keep charging forward then the team deserves a big compliment."
Bayern were without wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery plus defenders David Alaba and Holger Badstuber but, despite a 2-1 deficit in the first half, they dug deep to score twice and avoid a first home loss in the competition this season.
Nevertheless, elimination means Bayern will end the season with one title -- the Bundesliga.
"The Bayern players sometimes do not know how good they are. Now I want to celebrate our title, go on holiday and hopefully we can play better next season," Guardiola said.
"We had a lot of problems and it was good to try to overcome these problems and I think we did not give up.
"It is more important what we did this year compared to last (when Bayern won the double). But a big team must fall this way. It must fall the way we lost today.Reuse content