Valencia midfielder Ever Banega has heaped praise on Barcelona star and international team-mate Lionel Messi, while admitting that playing against the Argentine phenomenon is the nightmare of any player.
Under Sergio Batista the 22-year-old has become a fixture in the Albiceleste first team, and in friendly matches shown himself adept at combining with 'La Pulga' going forward. 'El Tanguito' admitted that he considered himself lucky to have such a player at his side in the Seleccion.
"Having him on your team is a great pride because he is a phenomenon as a player and a person. He makes things easier for all of us," Banega told Radio ESPN on Friday. As a sometime opponent of Messi however when his Valencia take on Barcelona, the former Boca starlet confessed that his feelings were rather different.
"Playing on the other side, you want to kill him! You cannot get a handle on him, he plays you all over the place, moves with complete freedom and is always threatening your goal. Sooner or later he will always put a goal past you and win the game for Barca."
Messi will hope to live up to his international team-mate's praise when he and the Cules take on Madrid in tomorrow's clasico at the Bernabeu, while Banega and Valencia will try to take a huge step toward the Champions League with an away victory against Almeria on the same day.