If there’s one game every single football neutral was looking forward to when the group stages of the Champions League were drawn, it was Manchester City vs Barcelona, or as the Spanish press see it: Pep Guardiola vs his former team.
Sport, to try and get a bit more insight into how to beat this impressive Premier League side, decided to interview the man who most recently managed to put a spoke in the Spaniard’s wheel, his former Barcelona teammate Ronald Koeman.
The now Everton manager, thanks to heroics from his goalkeeper Marten Stekelenburg, managed to hold Guardiola’s City to a 1-1 draw at the weekend, an achievement he knows was ‘lucky’.
Explaining that no matter how good they are going forward, the Premier League leaders’ weakness is their defence, the Dutch manager also touched upon Wednesday night’s game, and what the main difference between the two sides is.
He said: “It wouldn’t surprise me if (City) had more possession that Barcelona, but Luis Enrique’s side is solid defensively and are comfortable on the counter. Anyways, Barcelona have something Manchester City don’t.
“I’m referring to Leo Messi. Your team can do a great job, controlling your rival, but if Leo Messi’s genius is let loose, you can’t do anything. And normally it happens during big games. Not only is he the best player at the moment, he’s also the best ever.”
The last time Barcelona played a Pep Guardiola side at home was in May 2015 when Messi’s quick fire double saw Luis Enrique’s side eventually run away 3-0 winners.
The now Manchester City coach famously said before that game that no team or manager could ‘stifle’ the Argentinean legend.
He didn’t manage it then, can he somehow do it on Wednesday evening?