Pep Guardiola freely admitted he has no grasp plan in thoughts to comprise Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe when Manchester Metropolis meet Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
Assuming Messi is match to characteristic, this match would be the first time he has gone up towards his former boss Guardiola for the reason that six-time Ballon d’Or winner departed Barcelona in August.
Though Messi was handed his Barca breakthrough by Frank Rijkaard, it was below Guardiola that he really established himself among the many finest on this planet.
He featured 47 occasions for Guardiola within the Champions League, 18 greater than for another coach, and scored 43 occasions at a mean of 1 each 92 minutes — amongst managers he has performed greater than two video games for within the competitors, he has solely netted with higher frequency below Tata Martino (79 minutes per purpose, seven matches).
In fact, this is not going to be the primary time Messi has confronted a Guardiola staff — he boasts a powerful document haul of six targets in 4 video games towards his former mentor, together with a hat-trick when Barca beat Metropolis 4-0 again in October 2016.
“This sort of participant speaks for himself on the pitch,” Guardiola instructed a information convention on Monday. “I don’t have so as to add the rest.
“We’re lucky to see him in his 15, 16 years… I don’t know what number of years since he turned skilled.
“He speaks for himself. I don’t have to speak about him. What he’s finished in his profession is greater than distinctive and hopefully tomorrow he can play for the nice of the sport.
“[Messi leaving Barca] was a shock for everybody, but it surely occurred and everybody accepts it.
“A very long time in the past and even few years in the past you couldn’t think about it, however you by no means know what occurs. I’m fairly certain he’ll be completely happy there in Paris.”
Messi has bought off to a sluggish begin in France, with a late arrival because of the Copa America delaying his debut after which the primary worldwide break of the season interrupted his settling-in interval. He additionally missed the win over Montpellier on account of a minor knee knock.
As such, he has performed simply thrice for PSG and is but to attain, however Guardiola is aware of all too properly what Messi is able to and believes Mauricio Pochettino’s entrance three have the expertise to be up there with the very best assaults he has confronted.
“Sure, they’ve the standard,” Guardiola mentioned when requested if PSG’s frontline might problem Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League-winning Liverpool assault and Luis Enrique’s famed ‘MSN’ strikeforce.
“Each groups you point out had unbelievable gamers up entrance and good organisation and I feel the supervisor from PSG can do it. The gamers they’ve upfront is the extent of the earlier groups I discussed, in fact they’ll do it.
“Soccer wants time, usually the folks of soccer don’t give it to us, however in fact the qualities of the gamers… For a few years PSG at all times have high gamers, being performed by high, high managers, that’s why at all times within the league, cups, Europe, they’re there.
“We all know precisely how troublesome it’s, possibly essentially the most troublesome, however on the identical time we attempt to do our sport understanding how good they’re individually and collectively.”
Pressed on whether or not he had an thought of methods to cease Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, Guardiola mentioned with a resigned chuckle: “I don’t know, with this quantity of high quality I don’t know what we should always do to cease them.
“Truthfully, they’re so good. This quantity of expertise altogether to be managed, it’s so troublesome. We attempt to defend properly after we don’t have the ball and attempt to allow them to run after we have the ball.
“They’re distinctive gamers, everybody is aware of it. Individually they’re so good, they’ll mix and join with one another.
“The three gamers up entrance they’ll do no matter they need, play vast, slender, one proper and one left, they’ll mix properly and have the standard.
“The expertise can’t be stopped — we now have to do it as a staff. Individually we can’t put the strain on one participant to unravel the abilities and skills they’ve.
“We’ve got to be compact, collectively and assist one another, know we’re going to endure and be in ache, and the way you deal with the ache in these moments…you will have to have the ability to endure for 90 minutes.”