Lionel Messi hailed as 'the smartest player in football' as Bayern's Dayot Upamecano discusses PSG star's threat ahead of Champions League clash
- Argentina starred in World Cup final
- Helped to dash France's dreams
- Now chasing down a European title
WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner proved to be a serious thorn in the side of Upamecano and France in the 2022 World Cup final, as he inspired his country to global glory in Qatar. Messi is about to cross paths with Upamecano again, as Paris Saint-Germain prepare to face Bayern Munich in the last-16 of the Champions League, and the French centre-half is expecting to have his hands full against one of the most destructive forwards to have ever played the game.
WHAT THEY SAID: Upamecano has told L’Equipe of the many challenges that Messi poses to his opponents: “If you don't have your eyes on him, you're going to be in pain. I think he's the smartest player in football. He will get behind you and he will always watch how you position yourself. He watches how you react, he studies you. He tries to be forgotten so you always have to keep your eyes on him. In addition, as he is small, you can lose sight of him a little. And when you realise it, he is already making his pass.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi netted twice in the World Cup final, before converting his penalty in Argentina’s shootout success, and is up to 15 goals and 14 assists for PSG in the 2022-23 campaign – as he mulls over whether or not to sign a contract extension with the Ligue 1 title holders.
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WHAT NEXT? PSG are set to host Bayern at Parc des Princes in a heavyweight encounter on Tuesday, with the return leg of their knockout encounter taking place at the Allianz Arena on March 8.