By Chris Harris

Lionel Messi could be the greatest footballer the world has ever seen, according to Arsène Wenger.

The Argentinian scored two late goals on Wednesday night as Barcelona took a firm grip on their Champions League Semi-Final against Real Madrid by beating their rivals at the Bernabeu.

Messi's first was an instinctive close-range finish but his second came at the end of a mazy run past three Madrid players. Incredibly the 23-year-old now has 52 goals for Barcelona this season and Wenger rates him as highly as stellar names like Pele and Diego Maradona.

"He is that good," said the Frenchman.

"I have not seen all the football players, but for me he has qualities that are mental: humility, desire to play, happiness to help the team, always desire, you never see any bad reaction despite all the kicks he gets.

"When you look at the numbers, you have to kneel down and say they are fantastic. When a guy scores 52 goals in modern football and has 25 assists, when you see how difficult it is to score a goal, you just have to say it is absolutely exceptional what this player is delivering."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 28 Apr 2011