Gabi: Play Barca, not Messi

Atletico Madrid captain Gabi is preparing to play the whole Barcelona team, not just Lionel Messi, in the Champions League quarter-final second leg.

It’s been suggested how the skipper deals with the Argentine will be crucial to Atleti’s chances of overturning Barca’s 2-1 lead from the first leg, but Gabi told reporters the game is about more than one player.

“It’s hard to prepare to play against Messi. I prepare to play against Barcelona, who destabilise you, but with help we can stop, although we know it’s difficult. We’ll see which position he starts in at Vicente Calderon,” AS quotes Gabi as saying.

“The key is to have controlled emotions, knowing how to play. This team has known for three or four years how to play these kinds of games.”

Gabi was also asked about a player who could start, Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, and one who definitely won’t, the suspended Fernando Torres.

“When [Carrasco] arrived he was weaker. He’s learning to compete at the level of Atletico. He can unbalance [opponents] on the wing and he’s a different player for Atletico,” he said of the Belgium international.

“I knew Fernando could contribute a lot. He offers goals and speed and his absence is important. The team will overcome it and whoever replaces him will do well.”

Tags Gabi Lionel Messi