Barcelona v Chelsea: How to stop Lionel Messi

28 April 2009 09:00
Barcelona v ChelseaKick-off: Tue Apr 28, 7.45pm, Nou Camp, BarcelonaTV: ITV1, ITV HDRadio: BBC Radio Five Live

The left-footed Messi consistently plays out on the right wing, which leads to him cutting inside on to his stronger left foot, and on to the weaker foot of left-back Bosingwa.

 Related ArticlesBarca's perfect 10Hiddink turns to DrogbaCatalans love to hate ChelseaCity line up £40m Eto'o bidBarcelona v ChelseaBarcelona v Chelsea: Jose Bosingwa sees nothing to fear in Lionel MessiIn doing so, Messi drifts into a more central position to frustrate the centre-halves, and gives strike partner Samuel Eto'o more space. The challenge for Bosingwa, then, is to force Messi on to his right foot.

Henry, however, appears to believe that the task is impossible. "There is no way to stop Leo. If he has a good day, then there's really no way of stopping him," the French forward said. Chelsea's Deco, a former Barcelona team-mate of Messi's, added: "Leo Messi is incredible. He is one of my best friends and I know him well. At the moment, Leo is almost impossible to stop on his day. He is an incredible player and if he is on form, we can only wait and see who has the ability to stop him."

Messi's extraordinary range of skills means that the 21-year-old is highly sought-after by worldwide but he continues to insist that he wants to spend his entire career at Barcelona, where he made his debut aged 17 and who paid for his treatment for growth hormone deficiency.

Four other key clashes:

Carles Puyol (8/10) v Didier Drogba (8)

Drogba will be relied upon for his pure physical strength, and deployed as a 'battering ram' against the formidable Puyol, who has become Barcelona's defensive mainstay. Without the speedy Puyol, Barcelona can be highly susceptible at the back.

Victor Valdes (7) v Petr Cech (7)

Still two of the best goalkeepers in the world game, despite Cech's recent travails. Fortunately for the Czech, Valdes, who emerged from Barcelona's youth system, is also not without his faults under pressure, especially when receiving back passes.

Xavi Hernandez (8) v Frank Lampard (8)

Lampard has been luminous this season by his controlling influence in the middle for Chelsea, but he comes up against the consummate master of that art in Xavi. The diminuitive Barcelona playmaker is capable of finding holes in even the most watertight defences.

John Terry (8) v Samuel Eto'o (9)

Eto'o is arguably the easiest of Barcelona's three strikers to mark but his understanding with Lionel Messi is telepathic, and Terry will have to be on his mettle. The Cameroon international has been lethal in his finishing so far this season.


Source: Telegraph