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Olympique Lyonnais v Barcelona

'Mendy is ready for Messi' - Lyon's Barcelona-linked star tipped by Aouar to handle biggest test

17:37 GMT+3 19/02/2019
Ferland Mendy
A Ligue 1 outfit with an assortment of exciting talent within its ranks is looking forward to the Champions League challenge of facing La Liga giants

Lyon are readying themselves to face Barcelona in the Champions League, with Houssem Aouar claiming that Ferland Mendy is up to the task of trying to contain Lionel Messi.

The Ligue 1 outfit are set to play host to the Liga giants in the first leg of a last-16 encounter on Tuesday.

Any hope the French side have of progressing to the quarter-finals will likely rest on their ability to keep Barca’s star men quiet.

The mercurial talents of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi pose the greatest threat to the Lyon cause, while Aouar is confident that highly-rated full-back Mendy – who has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou – is capable of holding his own when faced with the most daunting of tests.

“I think that Mendy is ready to come up against Lionel Messi,” said the talented playmaker.

“We have prepared well and we are feeling confident.”

Lyon’s efforts will be hindered against Barca by the absence of key creative influence Nabil Fekir.

They do, however, boast plenty of other attacking talents, with 20-year-old Aouar among those capable of causing Catalan foes problems.

He believes Lyon can shine on the grandest of stages, even if they are running into a star-studded opponent.

“They have incredible players all over the pitch, you cannot just deal with one or two because they are all capable of hurting you,” added the youngstes.

“Without [Fekir] we often tend to be on the losing side.

“Having said that, we have lots of players who can replace him.”

Aouar, who is drawing plenty of admiring glances from across Europe and will be hoping to impress against a side of Barcelona’s calibre, added on the challenge facing Bruno Genesio’s side: “We have prepared well for the match and we are focused.

“We are all aware of the challenge that we are faced with but we are going to go out there and give it our all.

“We are not scared of Barcelona, we are raring to go.”

Lyon reached the last 16 after going unbeaten through the group stage.

Five draws prevented them from topping the standings, but their solitary success did come away at Premier League champions Manchester City to offer them hope heading into a two-legged tie with the Spanish title holders.