Chelsea marksman N’golo Kante is the only player that can stop Lionel Messi when Barcelona and Chelsea clash, that’s the claim of former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.
Barcelona had to come from behind to draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the round of 16 Champions League game and it was Lionel Messi who rescued the point for the La Liga giants. Before the game, Chelsea have met Barcelona six times in the Champions League and Messi had never scored against them.
Barcelona now have the advantage of an away goal when they return to host Chelsea in the same competition a fortnight from now. The result has left Antonio Conte very furious as his team failed to bury some of the glorious chances they had at goal.
Messi who has been enjoying a barnstorming season with 31 goals in 42 games in all competitions this season was dubbed as the greatest player of all time and speaking before the game last night, Lampard revealed that the Blues would need an extra effort to keep the silky star at bay.
He told the Evening Standard: ‘Whoever is nearest to him has to take the responsibility to take that space because the minute you let him get his head up and run freely at you, you won’t get near him. I can say that from experience.
‘There will be periods when you just have to back off. The problem is that being at home, there will be people wanting to see Chelsea have a bit of a go at them.
‘But their players are that good, you have to back off to deny them the space where they can really hurt you. ‘It is a fine line for Chelsea. T
hey need to sit back but at the same time put pressure on him so he doesn’t become relaxed on the ball. ‘This is where I think N’Golo Kante will be key. He is the one in Chelsea’s midfield with the abilities you need because he is so quick into the tackle. ‘But it is important all 11 press their opponents, starting with those players at the top of the pitch.’
Messi was allowed space and he took his chance. it will be a different ball game at Camp Nou but Chelsea can still knock out Barcelon.