It is 'impossible' to stop Lionel Messi, says Carlo Ancelotti
Former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has revealed how he would try to stop Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi - but admitted that it is impossible if he is on top form.
The Argentina captain is already considered one of the greatest players ever, having scored an incredible 458 goals in 549 matches for the Catalan club, leading to seven La Liga titles and the Champions League four times.
Messi regained the Ballon d'Or from rival Cristiano Ronaldo in January and has again been stunning this season, with 35 goals already.
Ancelotti's plan to stop Messi
Luis Enrique's team are favourites to win La Liga and the Champions League, with Barca aiming for successive trebles, an unprecedented feat.
Ancelotti, who helped Real Madrid win a Champions League and Copa del Rey double in 2014, has revealed how he would try and stop the winger.
"Man-marking Messi is very complicated. The defender marking him would have to be at a very high level," Ancelotti wrote in his column for Chinese outlet Sina Sports.
"The best way to stop him is by defending as a team, keeping the space between the lines tight and now allowing him to touch the ball. You need a lot of players in midfield to make that happen. That reduces Messi's options and he will see less of the ball, at least in dangerous positions.
"We know that he likes to cut in from the wing and get the ball onto his left foot. But the problem is that Barcelona have more weapons than just Messi. If you focus on Messi, their other attackers can do the damage."
Ancelotti, who will replace Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich in the summer, also included a diagram that shows how a defence must be in tune to contain the superstar. However, he added, even the most meticulous of plans are rendered pointless if Messi is at his best.
"But if Messi is at 100 per cent physically, it is impossible to try to stop him, no matter who the coach is and what his strategy is. His enormous talent makes it nearly impossible to anticipate what he will do, so there is no way to keep him quiet."
Independent News Service