Praise pours in for "unbelievable" Alphonso Davies: the toast of Bayern Munich, and scourge of Barcelona
It's not often Lionel Messi gets upstaged, but Alphonso Davies did just that to the Barcelona talisman in Bayern Munich's emphatic 8-2 win over the La Liga side in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Davies underlined his standing as the world's best left-back in the one-legged - and one-sided - tie in Lisbon. Not only did he have Messi - who suffered the heaviest defeat of his professional career - in his pocket, but he served up one of the finest assists in living memory.
The 19-year-old Canadian collected the ball just past the halfway line, outfoxing Messi and former Bayern midfielder Arturo Vidal before taking Nelson Semedo to school. A few quick feints and a trademark turn of pace left the Barca right-back eating dust, and a dumbfounded Gerard Pique rooted to the spot in the penalty area, as Bayern's Roadrunner coasted to the byline and fizzed a ball into the danger zone for Joshua Kimmich to make it 5-2.
"That was unbelievable," Kimmich said of Davies' moment of magic that proceeded to break the internet. "Even I was a bit ashamed when I celebrated. He gets 99 percent of the credit for the goal. I only had to get the ball over the line."
Bayern coach Hansi Flick didn't hold back in his post-match appraisal, either. The 55-year-old has given the Canada international wings in 2019/20 - his first full campaign on European soil since leaving Vancouver Whitecaps in January 2019 - and is delighted with the results.
"It's just nice to see it," Flick enthused. "He has the quality and if he can now do it more often, that's even nicer. He has the confidence, now also against Barcelona."
Watch: Alphonso Davies under the tactical microscope
Davies has played in all six of Bayern's Champions League fixtures under Flick, producing four assists - two against Tottenham Hotspur, and one each against Chelsea and Barcelona.
Despite bursting onto the scene at Vancouver as an attacking winger, the left-back position he has made his own at Bayern appears to be his true calling.
"He’s the best attacking full-back on the planet at the minute," former England international Rio Ferdinand told Gary Lineker and Owen Hargreaves on BT Sport. "He was amazing today. If I was Semedo, I'd come off Instagram for a bit. What he did to him was our of order."
Real Madrid's Marcelo, who was won the Champions League four times, replied to a Davies post on Instagram saying, "You bring joy to my eyes when I see u play kid!", while Liverpool's Andy Robertson, a top level full-back in his own right, meanwhile, was lost for words. The Scotsman was only able to react through emojis on his Twitter channel.
Davies's electric display was a microcosm of a superb team performance by the 2019/20 Bundesliga and DFB Cup winners. Bayern scored more goals (eight) than Barcelona had shots on goal (seven), with Thomas Müller, Philippe Coutinho (both two), Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry and Ivan Perisic also on target.
Germany's record champions are now unbeaten in their last 28 competitive matches, winning 27, ahead of their semi-final tie against Lyon on 19 August. The winner of the other semi-final between Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig and Thomas Tuchel's Paris Saint-Germain await in the final, four days later.
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