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Rio Ferdinand tells Manchester United players what they must do to have a chance of stopping Lionel Messi

Manchester United players need to deprive Lionel Messi of space, that’s the verdict of former United star Rio Ferdinand.

Ferdinand played against Messi in Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011, both of which Barcelona won.

“Barca have a certain way of playing which is possession-based football and they press you when they haven’t got the ball, so they (United) have got to be very mindful of that,” the former United defender told BT Sport .

“But it will come down to the little man, Messi. How do they stop him and combat him? They can’t afford to give him space. If they give him space to turn and front up he’s going to cause huge problems.

“What the players have to do is make sure they’re not in awe of him, he’s a superstar, a legend, one of the best to ever play the game but they’ve got to take that out of their thinking before the game and that’s half the job.

“Half the battle is the mental battle before the game, if they can sort that out. I’m sure Ole will have a plan for him (Messi) so he won’t be able to play 1v1 during the whole game.

“Ole has to be thinking about not conceding and hopefully nicking a goal and taking it to the Nou Camp and having something to play for.”

Messi, who has scored 43 goals in 40 games, head into the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Source-The Mirror

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