UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE : Barca need Messi on top form against PSG, insists Koeman

Written by on February 16, 2021

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has called on skipper Lionel Messi to turn in another top class performance as they prepare to face Paris Saint-Germain tonight.

Messi warmed up for the visit of the Ligue 1 champions with two goals and a man of the match performance in La Blaugrana’s 5-1 La Liga win over Alaves this weekend.

That brings Messi up to 15 league goals so far in 2020/21, one behind his old teammate Luis Suarez of Atletico Madrid.

Despite opting to leave Messi on to complete a full 90 minutes against Abelardo Fernandez’s side, Koeman is confident his talisman will be fresh to face Mauricio Pochettino‘s visitors.

“He is focused and he is excited, he’s happy and he’s been very effective in front of goal recently”, Koeman told an interview with Diario AS.

“And he’s someone, who when we find passes in between the lines to find him, he gives depth for the rest of the players. He has a great vision of the game.”

Koeman’s side welcome PSG to the Camp Nou on February 16, and he will be hopeful Messi can continue his excellent record against the French giants.

Messi netted a crucial away goal to send Barcelona through on away goals in the 2012/13 Champions League knockout stages, and he has four goals in seven starts against them.

Today’s game at the Camp Nou will be the ninth between the sides in the competition in eight years. History is on Barcelona’s side, and in the era of the super club, going out in the first knockout round of Europe’s elite competition is potentially disastrous.

PSG’s exit at the hands of Barcelona at this stage in 2017 was certainly that, with an astonishing 6-1 second-leg demolition wiping out a 4-0 first-leg advantage.

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