Bayern coach Heynckes heaps praise on Lionel Messi
MUNICH (AP) -Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes compared Lionel Messi to some of football greatest players.
"He is a phenomenon. He is in the league of Zinedine Zidane, Diego Maradona, Pele and Johan Cruyff,'' Heynckes said Wednedsay. "Anyone who scores 50 goals in a season is extra-terrestrial.''
Bayern will come up against Messi when it plays Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals on Tuesday in Munich.
Bayern director Matthias Sammer also had good things to say about the four-time FIFA player of the year, calling the Argentina forward a "genius, a fantastic player.''
Heynckes said Barcelona for many years had been "an example'' for his team. But the Bayern coach sad he was stressing the past tense.
Bayern is enjoying a remarkable season. It became the earliest champion in Bundesliga history, and advanced to the German Cup final by beating Wolfsburg 6-1 on Tuesday.
"We have shown that we are a power, a great team,'' Heynckes said.
Sammer also said he was very pleased that Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova was back after cancer treatment and that Eric Abidal was back in the squad after a liver transplant.
"I wish them all the best despite the sporting rivalry,'' Sammer said.