Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has insisted that facing Lionel Messi in the Champions League does not worry him.
The Blues take on Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final in midweek and Hiddink admitted he is a huge fan of the Argentinean.
“I love the way he plays. Nature gave him a lot of gifts. Players like him make football very attractive to see,” he told the News of the World.
“Of course, we want to stop him, but we will never use means that are outside the rules or that are violent.”
Messi has been in sparkling form this season and is expected to have a major influence on the game, particularly as Chelsea will be without Ashley Cole for the first leg in the Camp Nou.
The job of marking Messi is therefore likely to fall to Jose Bosingwa, who played at left-back for the Blues against West Ham United yesterday, although Chelsea do have other options such as Michael Mancienne, Branislav Ivanovic and Juliano Belletti.
Whoever plays is likely to endure a difficult evening, yet Hiddink insisted that his side could stop Messi as a team, rather than relying on one player.
“I know it will be difficult to stop him. He is world-class. But I am not waking up in the night worrying about it,” he explained.
“I just know that everybody in my team must be ready to mark and tackle, because Messi and Barcelona interchange positions so much.
We will stop him as a team, not through any individual.”
Gill Clark, Goal.com