Tano Ortiz praises ‘greatest player of all time’ Lionel Messi after Champions Cup victory


Monterrey head coach Fernando ‘Tano’ Ortiz applauded the legendary Lionel Messi following his team’s 3-1 triumph over Inter Miami in the second leg of the Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinals.

It was a complete performance from the Mexican giants in a must-win game against Messi and co. The Herons started brightly but crumbled under pressure after goalkeeper Drake Callender’s unforgivable error that allowed Brandon Vazquez to put the hosts 1-0 up.

In the second 45, German Berterame added a second with a long-range stunner, while Jesus Gallardo made it 3-0 in the 64th minute to put the tie to bed. Miami’s Diego Gomez pulled one back for the Herons, but it was only a mere consolation strike with the south Florida club crashing out of the competition 5-2 on aggregate.

Leading up to the midweek contest, the former Club America boss made it clear that Rayados were not going to fear coming up against Messi in the second leg after he missed the first leg through injury.

“We are Monterrey. We are at home with our fans. Messi should worry about us,” said Ortiz.

This caused a great deal of online debate in the buildup to the game. Ortiz had essentially just called out the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner, with Messi fans around the globe enraged that he would even do such a thing. However, Ortiz clarified his comments after the game, explaining that he never meant to cause any chaos with his words.

“I said that we were going to beat them, not for a lack of respect for Miami, just because I thought that my players would understand what needed to be done,” he said.

Ortiz went on to explain his admiration for the 36-year-old and how he believes he is the best player in the history of the beautiful game.

“To me, Leo is the greatest player of all time, I did not mean to offend anyone. I just gave an honest opinion.”

Rayados will square off with reigning MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew in the semifinals of the Champions Cup, with the first leg slated for April 23 at Estadio BBVA.

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