Juventus center-back Leonardo Bonucci took time out to explain how his team plan to try and stop Lionel Messi in Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
The Serie A champions head into the final Group G game three points behind the Catalan giants and need to win by three goals or more, or any two-goal margin other than 2-0, if they are to pip Ronald Koeman’s men to top spot.
Messi scored in Barca’s 2-0 win over Juve in the reverse fixture in Turin in October, and Bonucci told a news conference how the Serie A champions plan to handle the Argentina international, as reported by Football Italia.
Messi is stopped with great teamwork, being a champion, he makes you win games alone. With teamwork, in the defensive phase, we can stop Messi’s qualities and highlight the qualities of our alien and champion [Ronaldo].
I saw him [Ronaldo] charged for the challenge, but the desire to win and to be fundamental is an added value for Cristiano. We certainly didn’t discover it today. He has been an example for everyone since he arrived and everyone tries to steal a minimum from him to improve.
Messi has been rested by Koeman for Barca’s last two Champions League outings against Ferencvaros and Dynamo Kiev but is expected to feature against Juventus.
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Juventus Boss Plays Down Barcelona ‘Crisis’
Barca’s form in the Champions League has been perfect so far, with five straight wins, but it’s been a different story in La Liga. Koeman’s men head into the match after a shock defeat to Cadiz that has left them down in ninth place in the table.
The Catalan giants are already 12 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and look to have a slim chance of winning the title after a poor start. Yet Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo has played down talk of a crisis at the Camp Nou, as reported by Goal.
I don’t believe at all that they are in crisis. They have strong players and a coach who is putting his ideas together, he needs time like us.
It’s strange to see them struggling in La Liga, but it’s normal, they had a season with two coaches and now there is a third, it is normal to have to find better solutions with the players to find the right conditions. They will recover in the league as well.
They are a great team and tomorrow we’ll have a very good performance. Compared to the first game, we must be better out of possession and be closer to the midfield and defensive lines.
Talk of a crisis at Barcelona may be premature, but Koeman and the team could certainly do with a good performance on Tuesday. Another win would help regain momentum after a poor result at the weekend and would also send the team into the knockout stages as group winners.