Kieran Tierney is looking forward to the potential prospect of facing Lionel Messi in the Premier League on a regular basis despite admitting he was “nowhere near him” when the pair met previously.
The Arsenal defender has come up against the six-time Ballon d’Or winner before when playing for Celtic in the 2016/17 season.
Celtic were drawn in the same Champions League group as Barcelona, but were given a real lesson by Messi and co. in the fixture at the Nou Camp.
Tierney was part of a five-man defence that evening set up to keep Barca’s stars at bay, but it failed spectacularly as Messi thumped a hat-trick in a 7-0 rout.
But rather than fear another showdown with the Argentine forward, Tierney is relishing pitting his wits against him should he complete a switch to England.
“I kinda played him before, I was marking him but I was nowhere near him, I was miles off it,” Tierney told Football Daily . “I don’t know what’s going to happen with him, obviously you see the links with Man City.
“It would be the biggest challenge of my career, playing against him a couple of times a season, hopefully.”
City are said to be leading the race to sign Messi this summer after his request to leave Barcelona on a free.
Messi’s contract expires next summer but City chiefs are believed to have been in Spain discussing a potential deal to land him before the end of the summer.
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The 33-year-old has failed to turn up for Barcelona training under new boss Ronald Koeman in a bid to force through a move as his legal team have advised him that doing so could undermine his exit strategy.
Barcelona are standing firm and continue to demand any potential suitors pay Messi’s £630m release clause in full if they wish to sign him this summer.
However Victor Font, a candidate for Barcelona’s presidency next year, says he thinks a U-turn from Messi is now unlikely, and urged for an amicable parting of the ways.
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Asked if he thinks Messi could stay, Font told Sky Sports : “That’s the hope, right? Until it’s over there is always hope. And therefore I really hope the decision can be changed.
“It doesn’t seem likely, though, and therefore if that’s the case, the focus should be on making the transition as smooth as possible.
“And the ties between Messi and Barcelona that go very deep, remain there, so we can ensure somehow, the relationship continues in the future.”
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