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Messi 'makes the impossible possible'

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hails Barcelona's four-goal hero Lionel Messi
  • Frenchman compares Argentina forward to a computer game machine
  • Barcelona coach says Messi's greatest quality is his humble character
  • Spanish champions move into semifinals of Europe's top club competition

(CNN) -- He was compared to a computer game machine by the man whose dreams of European glory he destroyed, but Lionel Messi's coach preferred to focus on his human qualities.

Messi underlined his status as the world's best soccer player on Tuesday night with a stunning four-goal display that put his Spanish club Barcelona into the semifinals of Europe's premier club competition, the Champions League.

The 22-year-old took his goal tally for the season to a staggering 39 as he netted a hat-trick in the first half against English side Arsenal, his fourth treble this season.

Blog: Is Messi better than Maradona?

The Argentina international became only the sixth player in the competition's history to score four in a game, and the first this season. He equaled former Brazil star Rivaldo with a record 25 career goals in the tournament.

He can take advantage of every mistake you make. It looks impossible, but he makes it possible.
--Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
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He has already scored one more goal than he did last season -- in eight fewer games, with a possible 11 still to play.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was left in no doubt about Messi's seemingly superhuman abilities.

"He's like a PlayStation," the Frenchman told reporters. "I think he can take advantage of every mistake you make.

"He is 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."

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said that Messi's greatest quality is his humble character.

"The good thing is about Messi is that tomorrow he will get up and look for the affection of his people and his team-mates," Guardiola said of the young man who has overtaken David Beckham at the top of football's rich list.

"I like the love he has for football and his anonymous character. Leo was brilliant and he was decisive tonight. It is not something you can describe because you have to see it to believe it."

Messi himself was typically understated in his summation of the match, which saw Barcelona win 4-1 for a 6-3 aggregate victory.

"We are happy to go through tonight, but we have to keep going," he said.

Barcelona will continue the defense of their European title in the semifinals against Italian champions Inter Milan, who progressed with a 1-0 win away to CSKA Moscow on Tuesday to defeat the Russians 2-0 on aggregate.

The two-leg last-four clash will see Inter manager Jose Mourinho return to the club where he was part of the coaching staff in the 1990s.