Manchester City defender John Stones says he is relishing the chance to take on Lionel Messi, who he feels is comfortably the world’s top player.
Barcelona host former boss Pep Guardiola and City at Camp Nou in the Champions League on Wednesday, with the English side sitting two points behind them at the top of Group C.
Stones insists he is not scared by the prospect of coming up against Messi and also highlighted the threat posed by Luis Suarez.
“It doesn’t scare me, no,” Stones told reporters ahead of the match.
“I think you have to play against the best to see how you can deal with it and it always brings the best out in you as well.
“I see it as an exciting challenge and one I’m looking forward to – if I’m picked to play of course. It will be great to come face-to-face with them.
“For me, Messi’s the best player in the world, easily. He’s one of a kind. I think we, as footballers, appreciate it even more when you come up against him and see what he can really do.
“I’ll be looking forward to that challenge. But it’s not just him, it’s everyone in that team. I think Luis Suarez has taken his game to another level since he was at Liverpool.”
After a stunning start to life under Guardiola, City have gone three matches without a victory in all competitions including a 1-1 draw against Everton last time out.
However, Stones is still optimistic they can cause an upset against the favourites to win the competition.
The England international added: “I think we can go to Barcelona and get a big result with how we’ve been playing.
“The result wasn’t what we wanted against Everton, but hopefully we can go there and cause a shock.”
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