Bayern Munich star Dayot Upamecano has acknowledged Lionel Messi as an exceptional player but is wary of the threat posed by the entire Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) team.
Having been on pause since November, the UEFA Champions League returns to action this week. PSG will lock horns with Bayern in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie today (February 14), with the likes of Lionel Messi expected to be in action.
The Parisians’ clash with the Bundesliga champions is one of the most exciting ties of the round as it will see exciting battles across the pitch. Among the most anticipated match-ups is the potential one between Messi and Upamecano.
It is worth noting that the central defender went up against the seven-time Ballon d’Or in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final in December. He was in France’s starting line-up when the forward fired Argentina to glory in Qatar that day.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash, Upamecano hailed Messi as an exceptional player. However, he stressed the need for Bayern to avoid putting all their effort into stopping the 35-year-old as PSG have a squad full of players who could hurt them. He told the German club’s official website:
“Messi is an absolutely exceptional player – whether he’s playing for Argentina or Paris. And we shouldn’t just be ready for him: PSG are a world-class team with quick attacking players.”
“We’ll prepare thoroughly and even in training we need maximum concentration, because mental strength will also play a role in who progresses. We must defend as a group and always have the right answers to hand.”
Both Messi and Upamecano played the full 120 minutes in the World Cup final between Argentina and France. However, the former eventually emerged victorious on penalties.
Is Lionel Messi fit to play for PSG against Bayern?
Christophe Galtier will be concerned about his team’s form ahead of the clash with Bayern. Les Parisiens notably go into the match on the back of two disappointing defeats to Marseille and AS Monaco in the French Cup and Ligue 1 respectively.
The French tactician will thus want his best players to be firing on all cylinders when they face the Bavarians. However, there have been concerns about Lionel Messi’s availability ahead of the match.
Messi missed the Parisians’ trip to Monaco at the weekend due to a hamstring injury. He, though, has since returned to training, handing the club a huge boost ahead of their Champions League match against Bayern.