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'Magician' Messi a danger to Man United's European dream, warns Cole

Lionel Messi

London, April 6: Lionel Messi is a "magician" who will pose the greatest threat to Manchester United when they take on Barcelona in the Champions League, Andy Cole has warned his former club.

Champions League fixtures

United face Barca over two legs for a spot in the semi-finals, having stunned Paris Saint-Germain with a last-gasp away-goals win in the French capital to reach the last eight.

Cole, a European champion in United's 1998-99 treble-winning season, cited the danger that Messi represents to the club's hopes of getting their hands back on the famous trophy.

"They've got a little magician in their team and, if he turns up, I'm not going to say 'we need to mark him out of the game' because you can't," the 47-year-old told United's official website.

"If he decides he's going to play and if he doesn't, he'll still play, he's that good. We'll have to wait and see."

La Liga leaders Barca are clear favourites to triumph, but Cole believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side can cause an upset if they stick to their principles.

"Anything's possible," he said ahead of Wednesday's first leg at Old Trafford. "We weren't expected to get past PSG but we did that. But we know Barcelona are a very good and special team.

"I think what we can do is play the way Manchester United should play. We did that when we won the Champions League in 99, we played Barcelona twice and both legs ended 3-3, with both teams playing attacking football which we're used to. We have to do exactly that."

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Story first published: Saturday, April 6, 2019, 15:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 6, 2019
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