Man United vs Barcelona: Ferguson confident Smalling can stop Messi from shining

Man United vs Barcelona: Ferguson confident Smalling can stop Messi from shining

- Man United vs Barcelona Champions League clash will see Lionel Messi return to Old Trafford one more time

- The 31-year-old was a thorn in the flesh of the Red Devils when Barca won the European title in 2011

- Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson believes Chris Smalling, has the quality to stop Messi from punishing his former side this evening

Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson is confident Chris Smalling can stop Lionel Messi from punishing the Premier League side in their Champions League quarterfinal clash.

The Red Devils welcome Barcelona to Old Trafford on Wednesday, April 10, for the first leg of their UCL last eight fixtures, with the concluding part set for the Camp Nou next week in Spain.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will have the Blaugrana's captain to deal with, having punished them in their last two competitive encounters in 2009 and 2011.

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

Messi scored on both occasions that saw the Spanish League giants lift the European title twice within three years.

Ferguson, according to SunSport, has identified Smalling as the only player who can frustrate the 31-year-old from putting up an impressive performance in the game.

Fergie wrote in his 2013 autobiography: "You need centre-backs who are prepared to drop right on top of Messi and not worry about what is happening behind them.

"He will drift away to the side. That’s fine. He’s less of a threat on the side than he is through the centre.

"After the inquest I told myself: ‘When we play Barcelona next time in a Champions League final, I would have Jones and Smalling, or Smalling and Evans, right on top of Messi. I wasn’t going to let him torture us again."

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Messi comes into this game on the back of his 43 goals in 40 matches in all competitions so far this campaign, and he could increase the tally in this meeting.

While reacting to his side facing Lionel Messi, Smalling said: "Facing Lionel Messi is something to relish.

"But we have faced Ronaldo and Mbappe and these are all challenges that this club relish and I say ‘bring it on." 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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