With both sides locked in fierce battles for their league titles and with domestic cup finals to look forward to also, the midweek showdown at the Etihad Stadium could go a long way to showing which of the free-scoring duo can harbour realistic hopes of challenging for continental glory.
Barcelona are no stranger to English opposition and, over the past 50 years, have enjoyed some memorable results - including a 4-0 thrashing of Leeds in 2001 in which former Barca and Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert, who will be tweeting live on Tuesday's encounter, scored twice.
In honour of one of Kluivert's most famous matches, Goal takes a look at Barcelona's biggest wins against English opposition...
|Barcelona 6-0 London XI – Inter Cities Fairs Cup Final 1958|
The very first edition painfully took three years to complete and resulted in a two-legged final between London XI and Barcelona. The English representatives, who contained the likes of Tottenham's Danny Blanchflower, Chelsea's Jimmy Greaves and Johnny Haynes of Fulham drew 2-2 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.
Unfortunately, they were then unceremoniously thumped 6-0 in the return leg at the Nuovo Estadio. Future Inter legend Luis Suarez scored twice, while Brazilian star Evaristo (2), Marti Verges and Eulogio Martinez also got on the scoresheet.
|Barcelona 4-0 Leeds – Champions League group stage 2001|
However, their Group H campaign started disastrously as they were battered 4-0 at Camp Nou. Rivaldo was at his brilliant best to open the scoring and Frank de Boer added a second before two second-half goals from Patrick Kluivert. Despite this memorable start to the campaign, Barca were eliminated, with Leeds squeezing through to the next round behind AC Milan.
|Barcelona 5-0 Chelsea – Inter Cities Fairs Cup semi-final 1966|
Barcelona's joy continued in the 1966 Inter Cities Fairs Cup semi-final against Chelsea. After both teams had won their respective home legs 2-0, a one-match playoff was required to settle the tie.
Barca won the toss, meaning they would play at home, and Chelsea will likely feel they may as well not have turned up at Camp Nou after shipping five goals without reply. The Catalans, who went on to win the competition, included in their line-up Uruguayan defender Julio Cesar Benitez who died in tragic circumstances at the age of just 27 two years later.
|Barca 4-1 Arsenal - Champions League quarter-finals 2010|
Two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put Barca in control at the Emirates in the first leg before Theo Walcott and a late Cesc Fabregas penalty salvaged a draw. In the return at Camp Nou, Nicklas Bendtner stunned the home crowd to hand his side the lead on aggregate, until Messi - deployed in a central position by Guardiola for the encounter - destroyed the Gunners with a devastating 20-minute salvo.
After lashing a fierce shot past Manuel Almunia, Messi finished a move he started thanks to Pedro's set-up before completing his hat-trick with a delightful chipped finish over the stranded keeper. The Argentine then added a fourth after bursting through the Gunners defence and finishing at the second attempt.
Barca were knocked out in the semi-finals by Jose Mourinho's Inter, but Messi's career as the central spearhead of the team's attack had only just begun.
|Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea – Champions League quarter-final 2000|
In the second leg at Camp Nou, Barcelona recovered further to go 2-0 up at half-time thanks to Rivaldo's free kick and Luis Figo's rebound. But, on the hour mark, Tore Andre Flo capitalised on goalkeeper Ruud Hesp's error to put Chelsea ahead in the tie again.
The Blues looked set to hold on, but with seven minutes remaining substitute Dani headed home. Two minutes later, Rivaldo missed a penalty so the game went into extra time, where Barca ran riot - a penalty from Rivaldo after Celestine Babayaro's red card and a Kluivert header finished Chelsea off.
|Barcelona 4-0 Man Utd – Champions League group stage 1995|
|Tweet Patrick Kluivert!
|Send your questions to former Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert via @Heineken using #sharethesofa on Tuesday evening|
Hristo Stoichkov (2), Romario and Albert Ferrer grabbed the goals in a game which signalled one of Sir Alex Ferguson's worst decisions as manager of United when, due to the three-foreigner rule, he dropped iconic goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel in favour of the hapless Gary Walsh.