Gattuso, Napoli, Messi, Barcelona

Gennaro Gattuso says Napoli will not have a cage to try and stop Lionel Messi when his side face Barcelona in the Champions League, as he urged his players to show no fear.

Napoli go into the last-16 tie, which starts with a home first leg today, as clear underdogs to progress.

“You need to stand up to Barcelona,” head coach Gattuso said at his pre-match news conference.

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“We haven’t played great at the San Paolo in recent weeks, except against Juventus, so I want to see a team that knows how to battle. It is fair to have respect for the opponent, but not fear.

“I read that I would prepare a cage to stop Messi. It is not so, we need the collective to play the game and remember that there is not only Messi on the field.

“Lorenzo Insigne said that Messi is a great player. He does things that I see only those who play the Play Station do, he has incredible quality.

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“And he’s not only great at a footballing level. He is the greatest for how he has conducted his career. He’s an example for kids to follow. He never says anything inappropriate.

“You can’t stop Messi, but in these moments my players have to try. We are playing against Barcelona, it is not only Messi.

Tomorrow I want to see a side that is capable of digging in and players who help each other from start to finish. It doesn’t make sense to have a player man-mark Messi but we will try some things in training and then we will see.”

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