Wenger hails Messi as best

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hailed Lionel Messi as the 'best player in the world by a distance' after seeing his side knocked out of the Champions League by holders Barcelona.

Messi scored all four goals in Barca's 4-1 win over the Gunners in the camp Nou, a result which sealed a 6-3 aggregate success in the quarter-final tie.

Afterwards, Wenger told reporters:"We lost to a team who are better than us and against the best player in the world, but we had opportunities.

"The regret we have on the night is that at 1-0 we had great opportunities to score a second goal and over the two games we gave cheap goals away.

"At 1-0 we had a good counter-attack, but made the wrong choice and defensively we basically gave them the goals.

"When there's players like Messi then you can pay for any mistake. He's the best player in the world by a distance.

"He is very young, but he can achieve a lot – there are not many players who can score four goals like he did.

"He has six or seven great years ahead of him and he can become unbelievable – touch wood nothing happens to him.

"The difficulty with him is that he's not always in the game but when he's in it he's really dangerous. Once he's on the ball he's unstoppable – he's the only player who can change direction at such a pace.

"We battled and came back. We missed a few opportunities when we could have been more dangerous, but congratulations to Barcelona. They were better than us."

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