Bayern are great but Messi gives Barcelona the edge over anyone - Mascherano
By Daniel Lewis
14 August 2020, 15:23
Javier Mascherano is convinced Barcelona will overcome a "very good" Bayern Munich side in their Champions League quarter-final tie thanks to the presence of Lionel Messi.
Argentina superstar Messi took his tally for the season to 31 goals with a strike in last week's 3-1 last-16 second-leg win over Napoli as Barca progressed 4-2 on aggregate.
Bayern have won 26 of their past 27 matches in all competitions and now await Quique Setien's side in Lisbon on Friday after thrashing Chelsea 7-1 over two legs in the previous round.
Despite the German champions' impressive form, however, Mascherano is expecting former team-mate Messi to guide Barcelona to victory in the one-legged tie.
"Bayern have a very good team with some physically strong players but, in a one-off match, anything can happen and I'm convinced Barcelona will be good enough," Mascherano told Catalan daily Ara.
"Barcelona need to control the match because it's always difficult for them to defend around their own area. If they can control things, then it's down to individual moments and that's when things begin to happen.
"Messi is the main reason Barcelona can beat any team. He knows they are just two more matches away from the Champions League final. I saw that desire from him against Napoli and it spread to his team-mates."
Messi is likely to start alongside Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez on Friday but there is talk Barca are looking to bring in a long-term replacement for the latter.
Inter striker Lautaro Martinez has been strongly linked with a switch to Camp Nou during the close season, and Mascherano is a fan of his compatriot
"I don't know if he's the perfect replacement for Luis Suarez," he said. "What I do know is, he's a very good player and is very compatible with Messi for the national team.
"But I don't know if he's Suarez's replacement or if Suarez needs replacing."