A fine Messi is block­ing Kane and Co’s path

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - ■ by HARRY PRATT

HARRY KANE and Tot­ten­ham will face a vir­tual sec­ond-string Barcelona for their Cham­pi­ons League clash at the Nou Camp.

But ex-White Hart Lane striker – and La Liga ex­pert – Terry Gib­son still ex­pects the ir­re­press­ible Lionel Messi to play in Tues­day’s match.

Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s men must match In­ter Milan’s re­sult at home to PSV to reach the knock­out stages.

Barcelona, though, are al­ready sure of fin­ish­ing top of the group and Gib­son ex­pects many of their stars to be rested – but not Messi.

He said: “I’d been hop­ing for some time Barcelona would be through when this game came around.

“It al­ways means they field a very dif­fer­ent side to their strong­est eleven. They’ll leave play­ers out and won’t risk any­one with in­jury.

“For ex­am­ple, Luis Suarez is only just com­ing back from his knee prob­lem so, fingers crossed, he doesn’t play.

“Un­for­tu­nately, Messi is dif­fer­ent. He’s a tourist at­trac­tion for so many fans who go to the Nou Camp.

“It’s al­most an obli­ga­tion he plays so they can say they saw the great man.

“He may only be at half-pace, do the min­i­mum run­ning but, as we saw when they beat Spurs at Wembley, that’s still enough to pro­duce deadly, ex­plo­sive mo­ments.

“But I’m op­ti­mistic Spurs can get the re­sult needed be­cause they’ve been un­fairly crit­i­cised this sea­son.”

He points to the fact Spurs fin­ished third last sea­son – ahead of Liver­pool, who earned wide-spread praise – and have backed it up with a strong start to this cam­paign.

As re­vealed in to­day’s Daily Star Sun­day, Tot­ten­ham striker Kane, 25, is Barcelona’s first pick to re­place Suarez as his time in La Liga draws to a close.

And Gib­son – who played for lo­cal club Spurs from 1980-83 – reck­ons the Eng­land skip­per, 25, is way ahead of all his con­tem­po­raries in world foot­ball.

The Eleven Sports pun­dit added: “When I look around the game, I can’t find an­other goalscorer of Kane’s age who is bet­ter.

“Who else scores the re­mark­able num­ber of goals he does? It’s im­pos­si­ble to find any­body as good.

“All the other big hit­ters are 30 or older and that makes me wor­ried.

“As a Spurs man, I don’t want Kane to be­come the next big thing in La Liga.

‘I’ve had that with Luka Modric and Gareth Bale for years – and I’m fed up with it.

“In the end it will come down to what Harry wants. It’s al­ways hard for a player when the big­gest clubs in the world want you.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.