Panama coach, Hernan Gomez has described Messi as a monster, after the Argentina captain came off the bench to score a hat trick in the 5-0 thrashing of his side at the Copa America Centenario on Friday.
The Barcelona forward was introduced with 30 minutes to spare in the second half, with the Albiceleste up by 1-0.
Messi scored seven minutes after he was introduced, and added a second 10 minutes later after netting a stunning free kick, he completed his hat trick with three minutes to spare, as Argentina booked their spot in the quarterfinals.
“Before Messi came on, there was no difference in the game,” Gomez said. “Messi is a monster. If you make a mistake and Messi is nearby, you pay for it.
“To play with 10 men, and then later on they put him on, it’s daunting.”
The Colombian coach added: “Argentina will beat Panama anywhere. They have more of a squad, with great players and more history.
“I saw important things from Panama in the first half, but after the third goal we collapsed. It was game that we started losing because of doubts in defence.
“But also, I think the margin is a bit bigger than it should have been.”
The loss leaves Panama needing a win over defending champions Chile in their final Group D fixture to advance to the quarter-finals of the special-edition centenary tournament.