Friday 23 August 2019

Rio Ferdinand gives his verdict on Manchester United’s mission to overcome Lionel Messi and Barcelona

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United’s players will believe ‘everything is possible’ heading into their Champions League quarter-final showdown with Barcelona after their heroic comeback against Paris Saint-German in the previous round.

United overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit to secure a famous victory against the French champions in Paris, with United legend Ferdinand now suggesting manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players will be confident of claiming another major scalp when they take on Barca.

“Anything is possible for this Manchester United team under Solskjaer and the PSG game confirmed that,” Ferdinand told Independent.ie in an exclusive interview at an event to promote his new movie 90 Minutes. “To have 10 or 11 players out and still go over to Paris and produce a performance and get a result like that, it was incredible.

“After that result, these players will go into every Champions League game believing they are capable of getting a result and I know what it is like when a United team believe in themselves on a European night at Old Trafford.

“Barcelona are favourites in this match, of course they are. I never saw United beating PSG in the last round if I'm being honest and the challenge has probably gone up a level in this tie against a team that expects to win matches like this in the Champions League, but United have to believe.”

Ferdinand believes the presence of Lionel Messi is likely to tip the balance in Barcelona’s favour over the course of the two legs, as he admits the Argentina maestro is unstoppable when he is at his best.

“The one major problem United will have in this game is a problem every team that have faced Barcelona over the last 10 years and more....Lionel Messi,” adds Ferdinand.

“It’s alright coming up with plans to try and stop him, whether its man marking or some other tactic, but this guy is more than good enough to get around all of that.

“Anyone who has played against Messi know how good he is and the reality might be that you can’t do much about it when he turns up, which is in most games.

“If United can stop Messi, then they have a chance but that is a lot easier said than done.”

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