Pep Guardiola said he is “in love” with Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti, after his side lost in the Champions League.
Messi scored his first goal for PSG in the Champions League after Idrissa Gana Gueye’s opening-half breakthrough in Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over City
Messi’s goal came in the 74th minute to steal the show and Guardiola lavished praise on both Messi and Verrati as they helped the team cruise to a 2-0 victory against City.
Verrati played a vital role in Italy’s Europe truimph and Guardiola shows how he’s amazed by the player
“I’m in love,” Guardiola said, “He’s an exceptional player because he’s under pressure and has the calmness to take on extra touch and in that moment create extra passes behind our midfield players.
“I know the character and personality that he has and he did it again. I’m happy he’s back from his injury and yeah, an exceptional player.
“He’s not tall from his aspect from outside, but when you see how he moves, how he plays… he’s not a player for long distance passes, but you can count on him to always help to make a build up and know exactly where the spaces are to create other situations.
“Especially in the first half, second half was much better controlled by Kevin [De Bruyne], but first half we were a little bit soft with him.” Guardiola added
Messi has record against City as he’s the only player to score more Champions League goals against them (seven) than any other player,
Messi has scored 27 Champions League goals against Premier League clubs – 15 more than any other player
In the past months, City were heavily linked with Messi PSG got his signature at the end of his contract at Barcelona
“I wish, through my short personal relationship with him, I wish him the best,” Guardiola said. “If he’s happy and enjoying this period in Paris, I will be happy. He made me so happy when we worked together, he decided for many reasons to come here, for him and his family I wish him the best.”
“We deal with PSG first of all. We know that it is impossible to control Leo during the 90 minutes, but they were not giving him a lot of touches of the ball.
“Of course, he is coming back from some injuries, so he lacked a bit of rhythm, but we know when he can run and be quite close to the ball he is unstoppable. What we have done is minimise as much as possible these kind of actions and create the chances that we could create. I’m satisfied for the way we played, it was the same as when we were at Stamford Bridge. I said after the game, I’m happy for the victory of course, but the way we played today was quite similar.
“So the people cannot deny that we were there… this is our team. In good and bad, improving or not improving, this is our team. We arrived here, played our game and they defended deep really well with seven and a half players.
“This is the risk when you lose the ball and they can make one pass, especially [Marco] Verratti, an exceptional, extraordinary player that can have contact with Neymar and Messi where they can run, so always it’s difficult. But even with that, they didn’t do much and that’s all.” Guardiola added
City have been unbeaten in 18 games since their lost to Lyon in September 2018 Champions League group stages encounter. Since then, yesterday was their first first Champions League group stages defeat
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