Champions League: Rio Ferdinand tells Man United how to stop Lionel Messi

Champions League: Rio Ferdinand tells Man United how to stop Lionel Messi

- Champions League quarterfinal clash between Man United and Barcelona will go down at Old Trafford on Wednesday, April 10

- Rio Ferdinand believes the Red Devils stand a chance to stop Lionel Messi if they don't lose focus on the Argentine

- The second leg of the round will be staged at Camp Nou next week with the winner from the two legs progressing to the next round

Rio Ferdinand has insisted that Manchester United stars must not give Lionel Messi too much respect when they face Barcelona in Wednesday's Champions League clash at Old Trafford.

The 40-year-old former defender lost twice to the Spanish League champions in 2009 and 2011 - with the Argentine scoring once in each of the fixtures.

Messi heads into this fixture on the back of the Blaugrana's 2-0 victory over La Liga title contenders Atletico Madrid over the weekend.

As his goal tally in all competitions so far this campaign stands at 43 after making 40 appearances for the Catalans.

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Ferdinand admits the 31-year-old still has what it takes to punish his former club side but insists Ole Gunnar Solskajer's men must not be complacent with the five time Ballon d'O winner.

"Barca have a certain way of playing which is possession based football and they press you when they haven’t got the ball, so they (United) have got to be very mindful of that," the former United defender told BT Sport.

"But it will come down to the little man, Messi. How do they stop him and combat him?

"They can’t afford to give him space. If they give him space to turn and front up he’s going to cause huge problems.

"What the players have to do is make sure they’re not in awe of him, he’s a superstar, a legend, one of the best to ever play the game but they’ve got to take that out of their thinking before the game and that’s half the job.

"Half the battle is the mental battle before the game, if they can sort that out. I’m sure Ole will have a plan for him (Messi) so he won’t be able to play 1v1 during the whole game.

"Ole has to be thinking about not conceding and hopefully nicking a goal and taking it to the Nou Camp and having something to play for."

Meanwhile, Ferdinand believes United's dramatic win over Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16 will boost their confidence going into the fixture.

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"Sometimes if you get a result in a competition all of a sudden it wakes you up and brings something out of you that you didn’t know existed," he said.

"And that’s almost a catalyst for form and momentum within a tournament, and I just hope that’s part of this team now." earlier reported that Lionel Messi scored a stunning goal as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 over the weekend.

The Argentine also set new La Liga record after helping the Catalans beat fellow title contenders at the Camp Nou.

Messi has however emerged as the Spanish League player with most wins in his career after breaking Iker Casillas wins record. ( -> We have updated to serve you better.

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