"In the second half, with a lot of space, it's unbelievable how much he ran and dribbled and the possibilities to score, but come on".
"In part, his performance is why we played so well", said Rakitic. "But I think for Barcelona it was worse because in the history of football Barcelona always try to play along the grass".
Provided with the grandest of stages and 82,000 fans, the Argentine maestro responded by scoring two goals to take his Champions League haul to 105, instigating two others and twice being denied by the same upright. "I am going to say to the players: 'Enjoy playing against Messi.' This is the type of player that you are going to remember".
Barca set their stall out to end Real's European reign before a ball was even kicked this season with Messi in his first statement as new club captain after the exit of Andres Iniesta promising to "bring this lovely cup back home to the Camp Nou".
Messi shook his head in disbelief but soon silenced the home crowd again - this time side-footing inside the post from Alba's cross to finish a flowing move he started.
The main area Barcelona can improve is defensively. In the second half.
Messi produced a gorgeous ball to send Jordi Alba scampering clear down the left channel and, with Lloris having raced out and left his goal unmarked, the left-back squared for Coutinho to tuck away his first Barca goal in the Champions League. "It's an honour to play alongside him".
Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a great save to keep out a Son Heung-min cross that sharply deflected off Gerard Pique, who was making his 100th Champions League appearance, and Messi hit the post twice in five minutes after the restart before Kane gave Spurs a lifeline.
Messi is said to have dedicated his goal to them as they watched at home in Barcelona.
Can Spurs salvage anything from this game, or have Barcelona already picked up all three points?