Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 28 March 2020

Lionel Messi trains with his Barcelona teammates ahead of Champions League clash with Napoli - in pictures

Argentine set to play in Naples for first time with Catalan side

Fresh from his four-goal salvo for Barcelona at the weekend, Lionel Messi was preparing to take on Napoli in the Champions League.

The Argentine was at his breathtaking best on Saturday when he scored a first-half hat-trick in Barca's 5-0 La Liga thrashing of Eibar at Camp Nou, before finishing off his quadruple three minutes from full time.

"He's been in this form for 14 or 15 years and he keeps performing like this," said manager Quique Setien after the match.

"He's a guarantee for any club and for any coach and that's what makes him the best player in the world. He can do things that others can only dream about."

Now thoughts turn to Tuesday's last-16 first-leg and Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso admitted that he wants his team to "stand up to Barcelona".

"I want to see a lively team that plays without worry and with joy until the end," the Italian said. "I want a Napoli side that are not afraid.

"We haven't played great at the San Paolo in recent weeks, except against Juventus, so I want to see a team that knows how to battle. It is fair to have respect for the opponent, but not fear.

"I read that I would prepare a cage to stop Messi. It is not so, we need the collective to play the game and remember that there is not only Messi on the field.

"He's not only great at a footballing level. He is the greatest for how he has conducted his career. He's an example for kids to follow. He never says anything inappropriate.

"You can't stop Messi, but in these moments, my players have to try."

Updated: February 25, 2020 07:58 AM

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