In an interview with the Mirror, Lionel Messi identified Barcelona’s main competition in the UEFA Champions League.
Manchester City are one of the strongest teams around, as well as Paris Saint-Germain. I also do not exclude Real Madrid in terms of quality and experience, even though they have not yet achieved the expected results. Then there’s Bayern Munich, another great team who will play until the end. Today, however, the best are City and PSG.
Bayern faces Besiktas in the quarterfinal round, while Barcelona matches up against Eden Hazard and a very uneven Chelsea side. With Manchester City facing Basel, Manchester United squaring off against Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk battling Roma, Porto dueling with Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur mactching against Juventus, the most anticipated match appears to be between Real Madrid and PSG.
Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes, never one to hold back from weighing in with his opinion on the Real Madrid-PSG draw.
You must not write off Real in the Champions League. They have much more experience than Paris Saint-Germain. Much more! I believe they will win the tie.
In what has been a sounding off period for Barcelona players, Messi’s teammate Ivan Rakitic also gave some insight last week on who he perceives to be UCL-ready. In any event, later in the interview Messi could not resist weighing in with his opinion on why Barcelona has been more crisp this season, while also needling a prominent former teammate.
Without Neymar we are more balanced. His departure led to a change in the way we play. We have lost a lot of our offensive potential but we have improved in defense. We have more balance and this allows us to be more solid.