A fine Messi is blocking Kane and Co’s path
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.”