Pep Guardiola spent four years managing Lionel Messi while he was Barcelona and he will be reunited with the Argentine as Manchester City travel to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League
Pep Guardiola believes the footballing world has been privileged to witness Lionel Messi’s career play out over the last 16 years.
Messi appears likely to feature in the Group A clash having shaken off a minor injury, although PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino refused to confirm if he would start.
Despite the six-time Ballon d’Or winner posing a serious threat to his side, Guardiola is hoping Messi will step out at the Parc des Princes for the latest outing of his “exceptional” career.
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“Well I think this type of player, Messi especially, speaks for himself on the pitch, so I don’t have to add anything else,” said Guardiola in his pre-match press conference.
“We are fortunate to have seen him during this 15 or 16-year career, I don’t know how many years he’s been a professional.
“Messi speaks for himself, we don’t have to describe him or talk about him. Just what he has done in his career is more than exceptional and hopefully tomorrow he can play for the benefit of the game.”
Messi and Guardiola spent four years together at Barcelona, winning seven major honours including the continental treble in 2009.
During that time, the Argentina forward played alongside the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Carlos Puyol. He is not short of world-class teammates at PSG, either, with Guardiola picking out many players City must be wary of.
“They are exceptional players, everybody knows it,” said Guardiola of the PSG squad. “All of them are so good individually and they can combine and connect with each other.
Who will come out on top as Lionel Messi’s PSG host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City? Have your say in the comments.
“They are a fantastic team. What can you say about the players that they have? Marquinhos, I’m a big fan of him, [Achraf] Hakimi and all the midfield players: [Leandro] Paredes, Danilo [Pereira], [Ander] Herrera’s in good form and [Marco] Verratti especially.
“And after with the three players up front who can do whatever they want. They can play wide, they can play narrow, they can play one wide left, Messi can play right, can play in the middle, [Kylian] Mbappe can play in the middle, left, right.
“So they combine really well with each other and they have the quality. In the end, talent cannot be stopped. We have to do it as a team.
“We cannot put pressure on one player to stop the skills and the talent of the players that they have. We have to do it as a team, be compact, and help each other knowing that we are going to have to suffer.”