Lionel Messi cannot be stopped, admits Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso, with the Barcelona superstar capable of doing things that “you only see on a PlayStation”.
While talking up the obvious qualities of the Argentine forward, Gattuso is being charged with the task of trying to contain them.
La Liga giants Barca are due in Naples on Tuesday for the first leg of an eagerly-anticipated Champions League last-16 encounter.
Messi will be expected to lead the charge for the visitors in surroundings once graced by his fellow countryman Diego Maradona.
Napoli need no reminding of what they are up against, with the toughest of challenges facing the Serie A outfit.
Their manager concedes as much, with former Italy international Gattuso telling reporters: “You can’t stop Messi, but in these moments my players have to try.
“We are playing against Barcelona, not only Messi. It doesn’t make sense to have a player man mark Messi. We will try some things and then we’ll see.”
Napoli have won six of their last seven games across all competitions and will play host to Barcelona in buoyant mood.
Gattuso, though, is aware that the exploits of six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi could leave his side chasing shadows.
“I read that we have to man-mark Messi, but it’s not only him,” added the ex-AC Milan star.
“Lorenzo [Insigne] has said that he’s a great player, he’s not only great at a footballing level. He is the greatest for how he has lived his career. He’s an example for the kids to follow, never says anything inappropriate.
“He does stuff that you only see on a PlayStation, things you can’t even imagine. He’s been the best ever for years now.
“We’re up against a great team made up of great players. We know it’s going to be difficult but for myself and my squad it’s a source of pride to face a team who are stronger than us who, over the past 10, 15 years, have been one of the best teams in the world.
“We shouldn’t have any fear.”