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Roura lauds Messi 19-game milestone

SoccerNews in La Liga 30 Mar 2013

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Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura has heaped praise on superstar Lionel Messi for his exploits in front of goal.

The prolific striker surged to yet another record by scoring during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Celta – his 42nd for Barca in all competitions this season.

The 25-year-old broke new ground by being the first player in the history of Spanish football to register a goal in 19 consecutive league games – ensuring he has also scored against every other La Liga side in successive games this season.

And Roura revealed his delight for the Argentine, and believes he has much more to offer.

“Messi’s record of scoring against all opponents in a row? That no-one has done it till now shows how difficult it is,” Roura said.

Messi’s milestone was not enough to hand the league leaders victory however, with Borja Oubina’s late strike ensuring the hosts shared the spoils on the night Eric Abidal made a long-awaited return onto the substitutes’ bench.

“We had worked hard to turn the score around in the first period, and maybe at the end we lacked the intensity to prevent them from scoring their equaliser,” Roura continued.

“Cristian Tello is someone who can offer something different to the team. He works hard, and still has a lot more margin to grow.

“Abidal is part of the match squad now, meaning he’s ready to play.”

Though the Frenchman was included in the Barcelona squad for the first time since undergoing a liver transplant last year, he is not anticipated to be fit for his team’s upcoming Champions League quarter-final date with Paris Saint-Germain.

Roura quashed any suggestions that his team were looking ahead to that match rather than focus on Celta.

“We knew this match would be difficult. At this time of the season, any team is very difficult to beat, but particularly Celta de Vigo who are going through a difficult time and every game is a final for them,” Roura said.

“As usual we tried to win the three points. I think we have done the most difficult thing – equalising. I believe in the second half we dominated the game, but with one of the few chances they had they were able to draw. This is football and these kind of things can happen.”

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