Football

Pep Guardiola looking forward to facing off against Messi

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hopes his former protege Lionel Messi will be on the pitch when the Citizens face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Messi left boyhood club Barcelona to join PSG last month, after the Spanish giants were unable to finance a new deal for the forward.

The 34-year-old suffered a knock on his left knee last week, but returned to training yesterday and should be in PSG's squad to face the team led by his former Barca coach Guardiola.

"I think this type of player speaks for itself on the pitch, I don't have to add anything else," said Guardiola. "His career is exceptional. Hopefully, tomorrow he can play for the benefit of the game."

PSG's potent frontline of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe poses a major threat to City's defence.

"You have to defend well without the ball and let them run when we have the ball," said Guardiola. "They are exceptional players, everyone knows it, all of them so good. Individually and they combine so good.

"Messi can play right or middle, Mbappe wide or middle... They combine so well, the talent cannot be stopped."

Guardiola will still be without midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, who is out for another fortnight.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino said Messi, who has yet to score in three games for PSG, needs more time to gel with his new side as he had joined them for just about month.

PSG's Italian international midfielder Marco Verratti, who missed the last four games with a knee injury, is also in line to return. - REUTERS

Football