Champions League

Lay off Messi - Guardiola

2012-04-23 22:08
Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola (File)
Barcelona - Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola declared Lionel Messi fit to play in Tuesday's Champions League showdown with Chelsea and laughed off concerns about the Argentinian's scoring record.

Despite a remarkable year which has left Messi four goals shy of equalling Gerd Muller's all-time single-season scoring record of 67, questions have been raised about the South American's failure to find the net in recent matches.

Messi drew a blank against Chelsea in last week's 1-0 first leg defeat at Stamford Bridge and cut a frustrated figure once more at the weekend as the Catalans suffered a 2-1 home loss to Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.

News that Messi had missed training on Sunday also triggered alarm about his fitness for Tuesday's return match.

However, Guardiola told a press conference on Tuesday the FIFA world Player of the Year was fit to play.

"Leo had a gastric issue, the doctor saw him and he called us before the training session to say he wouldn't be coming in, but now he's okay," Guardiola said, before waving off questions about Messi's mini goal-drought.

"Allow me never to worry about Lionel Messi," Guardiola said.

"He cannot score for 27 games but then he will score three goals or give three assists. So let's give him license to spend however long he needs without scoring.

"How many goals has he scored this season? He's scored an incredible amount. He lives for scoring, helping his people. Let him be happy on the pitch."

Guardiola meanwhile said he was confident that if Barcelona were able to reproduce their performance of the first leg - when they enjoyed 70% possession, hit the woodwork twice and carved out a string of clear chances - they would be able to overturn Chelsea's 1-0 lead.

"We will have to have balance between rhythm, pace, patience and intensity," Guardiola said. "We need to think that we have 90 minutes ahead of us and that with patience and intensity we can make it."

He also dismissed concerns that Barcelona would struggle to raise themselves for what their third major match inside six days.

"Tomorrow there's no tiredness in the legs. Maybe in the mind. But in the semi-final of a Champions League, no matter if we play three days ago or yesterday - tomorrow we'll be ready to try and reach the final."



Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

08 December 2015
Benfica v Atletico de Madrid, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Borussia Monchengladbach, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Shakhtar Donetsk, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v CSKA Moscow, Philips Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Real Madrid v Malmo FF, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Galatasaray v FC Astana, Turk Telekom Arena 21:45
VfL Wolfsburg v Manchester United, Volkswagen Arena 21:45
09 December 2015
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Barcelona, BayArena 21:45
Olympiakos v Arsenal, Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium 21:45
KAA Gent v Zenit St Petersburg, Ghelamco Arena 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Maccabi Tel Aviv, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v FC Bayern Munchen, Maksimir 21:45
Valencia CF v Lyon, Mestalla 21:45
Roma v BATE Borisov, Olimpico 21:45
Chelsea v FC Porto, Stamford Bridge 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


30 of the world's greatest golfers will be heading to the Gary Player Country Club for this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge - now in its 35th year. For all the latest news, player profiles, hole-by-hole descriptions and past winners, be sure to check out Sport24's dedicated section.

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.