Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Barcelona star Lionel Messi has “X-ray” vision when it comes to picking out a teammate on the pitch.
Guardiola knows Messi well from his days as Barca coach and will come up against his former player when City face the Catalan club in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Guardiola will be hoping his City players are better prepared to deal with Messi this time around, with the forward having hit a hat trick the last time the two sides met as Barca ran out 4-0 winners earlier this month.
“Messi spends the match making a mental X-ray of every space, every moment,” Guardiola is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“It looks like he’s walking. It seems like he is alone — detached. Or when he sees the defenders are watching him, he will wander off into a space of his own.
“It looks like he’s just ambling around and maybe he’s the guy who runs least in the Spanish league but, boy, when that ball reaches him he knows the complete time-space X-ray of who is where. Then… pow!”
A win against the Premier League leaders would confirm Barca’s place in the next round of the Champions League. They have a five-point lead at the top of Group C after winning their opening three games.
City are not in such a luxurious position. Their loss at the Camp Nou last time out followed a draw against Celtic and they find themselves in a battle to secure qualification to the knockout rounds.