Messi lauds rival Oblak as 'one of the best goalkeepers in the world'

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Lionel Messi has hailed Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak as "one of the best goalkeepers in the world" and admits he loves the challenge of trying to beat him.

Oblak became the most expensive goalkeeper to join a Spanish top-flight side when he moved to Atleti from Benfica for €16million in 2014.

He has consistently been one of Los Rojiblancos' best performers since then and has started the 2020-21 campaign in typically outstanding form.

The Slovenia international has kept a clean sheet in nine of his 13 LaLiga appearances to help Atleti sit atop LaLiga ahead of rivals Real Madrid, who have the same number of points but have played two games more.

He has conceded the fewest amount of goals in the league - just five - while only three goalkeepers have made more than his 39 saves.

That gives him a save percentage of 88.1 per cent, comfortably ahead of Yassine Bounou in second place, the Sevilla stopper saving just shy of 80 per cent of the shots he has faced.

Oblak made four saves when Atleti edged past Barca 1-0 last month, with Messi unable to find a way through on that occasion.

"It's nice to face one another," Argentine superstar Messi told Bud Football. "He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world at the moment, and it's always good to fight against the best ones.

"It's an extra motivation to be able to, or to try to, score a goal, with what it means and how hard it is, as he proves in every game he plays.

"So, it's nice to see him outside but also face him in the games. It makes them more exciting."

Barca are next in action against Eibar on Tuesday, while Diego Simeone's side take on Getafe a day later.


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