Philippe Coutinho makes surprise claim about Lionel Messi

Brazil international Philippe Coutinho has suggested that Lionel Messi is becoming a better footballer at Barcelona with every increasing game. The 30-year-old has won every accolade at his grasp at the club level with a major trophy with Argentina being the only thing which has eluded him.

Speaking on 8TV, Coutinho said that Messi is still learning from the beautiful game, and he is pleased to be learning from some of the club's greats including Andres Iniesta at the Camp Nou, he said: "It seems incredible, but every day Messi gets better and better, as a teammate I can only take advantage of my moments with him.

"I’ve learned a lot from everyone and I’ve tried to take advantage of everything they have taught me. Andres (Iniesta) is a genius and anyone who plays with him will make them better. I’m enjoying my time with him and Messi, they are my idols."

Coutinho netted his maiden Barcelona goal in the 2-0 triumph over Valencia on Thursday evening, and this helped the club progress to the final of the Copa del Rey for the fifth occasion on the trot. The Catalan giants are also in pole position to win the Spanish La Liga with a nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top, and they will be eyeing a famous treble this term with their European ambitions very much alive.

Ernesto Valverde's side take on Chelsea in the first-leg of their Champions League round of 16 next week, and they will be hoping to finish the game off at Stamford Bridge, though they do not possess an impressive record versus their Premier League counterparts.

Barcelona have not won any of their previous seven outings versus the Blues, but their most famous meeting came in 2009, where they grabbed a vital away win in a 1-1 draw versus Chelsea in the semi-final stage which eventually contributed to their second Champions League triumph in three seasons.