AC Milan defender Thiago Silva has praised Barcelona’s Lionel Messi ahead of the teams’ Champions League quarter-final at San Siro.
Brazil international Thiago Silva will miss Wednesday’s first-leg clash due to injury, and fears his team-mates will face a difficult task stopping one of the sport’s best players.
“Messi is a special player, certainly the best attacker I’ve played against to date, but I think comparing players from different generations is difficult,” Thiago Silva told FIFA.com.
“All I know is that he’s spectacular and already is definitely among the best ever.”
Despite the threat posed by Messi, Silva is hopeful Milan can achieve a positive result in the first leg to take with them for the return at Camp Nou next Tuesday.
“We have to be optimistic,” he said.
“We’re happy to be taking on a team that’s currently considered to be the best in the world.
“We know how strong they are and we respect them, but we’re also a club with an immense pedigree and a lot of European titles.
“Almost everybody sees Barcelona as favourites and I think that’s natural.
“So, it’s down to us to prove over these games that we’ve got what it takes and to show Milan are worthy of winning the European title again.
“Milan’s victorious Champions League pedigree means they always get respect, while the fact we’ve already played them in the group phase is undoubtedly a plus point.
“I don’t know if Barcelona are wary of us, what matters is that we do our bit and play our football.”