Barcelona: German football legend Franz Beckenbauer on Tuesday labelled Barcelona star Lionel Messi as "God-like" and believes the Spanish team’s hope of success this season rests on his shoulders.
The 27-year-old has recovered from a disappointing end to 2014 to inspire his side to a fine run of form domestically and in Europe to leave the club challenging for silverware on three fronts.
"Messi is a divine player, he is god-like. The hopes of Barcelona are reliant on Messi," Beckenbauer told channel Sky 90.
Barcelona lead La Liga by two points ahead of Real Madrid and face Bayern in the semi-finals of the Champions League, while Athletic Bilbao await the Copa del Rey final.
Beckenbauer will, of course, hope Messi has a dip in form as his side take on Luis Enrique's men over two legs, but admitted he is a big admirer of the Argentina international.
The European tie will see Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola face his former club for the first time since leaving the club in 2012 and Beckenbauer believes his knowledge of the club could be key.
"Guardiola knows the ins and outs of Barcelona. He knows the smallest of details that could put Bayern on their way," the 69-year-old legend said.