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Wenger, Bendtner join in chorus of praise for scintillating Messi

PUBLISHED: 18:15 07 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:53 07 September 2010

Arsene Wenger paid tribute to four-goal Lionel Messi after Arsenal s Champions League dream ended in spectacular fashion on Tuesday night. The Barcelona striker was in scintillating form in the 4-1 second leg win as the current holders progressed to the s

Arsene Wenger paid tribute to four-goal Lionel Messi after Arsenal's Champions League dream ended in spectacular fashion on Tuesday night.

The Barcelona striker was in scintillating form in the 4-1 second leg win as the current holders progressed to the semi-final 6-3 on aggregate.

"Messi can make a difference at any moment in the game. He can take advantage of every mistake we make," said Wenger, whose side took a brief first-half lead in the Nou Camp through Nicklas Bendtner before Messi's stunning display.

The Arsenal manager added: "He is like Playstation! His very young, but can achieve a lot - I don't know how many players in the world could score that fourth goal he scored.

"It looks impossible, but he makes it possible.

"Messi has something exceptional and is in his prime. This boy now has six or seven years in front of him and if nothing happens to him he can reach unbelievable levels."

Wenger believes Barcelona are well placed to retain the trophy they won last May, when they beat Manchester United in the final in Rome.

He added: "I think that Barca are in semi finals and they have a chance to do it (win the tournament). They have players coming back. I believe they are the best side at the moment in Europe.

"But ... it's a cup and if we had taken every opportunity I think we could have made life very difficult for them."

Bendtner said he had no qualms with the result.

"Messi scored four fantastic goals and is a phenomenal player in a great team," said the Dane.

"I would rather get beaten by a better team, to be able to say we did what we could, rather than be robbed in the last minute."

Theo Walcott, who set up Bendtner's goal, said all eyes are now on the north London derby next Wednesday: "We now have to look forward to the game against Spurs on Wednesday and have to come right back because we have still got the Premier League to have a shout at.

"Tottenham away is a very big game - we just have to try and bounce back from this disappointment.


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