Pellegrini eyeing Messi night

  • Last Updated: February 18 2014, 19:47 GMT

Manuel Pellegrini is hoping his Manchester City side get to face "the worst (Lionel) Messi" when they tackle Barcelona in the Champions League.

Manuel Pellegrini: Hopeful Lionel Messi fails to perform at the Etihad
Manuel Pellegrini: Hopeful Lionel Messi fails to perform at the Etihad

The Argentine star bagged a brace in Saturday's 6-0 win over Rayo Vallecano to take him to 228 La Liga goals in just 263 games.

He is also just six behind Raul's 71 in the all-time Champions League goalscorers list and heads into the first leg of their last-16 tie in superb form with five goals in his last three matches.


Bet now on Manchester City v Barcelona


And although Pellegrini admits he's never seen the 26-year-old have a bad game, he hopes he underperforms at the Etihad.

"I have never seen Messi play badly. He's either excellent or great. We hope to face the worst Messi - not the great one," admitted the City boss.

"It is difficult to stop him, it is. Without doubt it's very difficult because he's the top player of the world and he has a lot of different qualities.

"He has speed, good balance and a good finish. He's very important, but I don't think Barcelona is Messi.

"You can have a lot of other players who will also decide the game as well, so it's important to play as a team, defending and attacking."


New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30