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Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 09:39 UK

Messi the key for Barca - Tevez

Lionel Messi
Messi roomed with Tevez at last year's Copa America

Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez says Barcelona will pose a far bigger threat to his team with star playmaker Lionel Messi back from a thigh injury.

Barca have struggled in La Liga but Messi, 20, will play in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final, first leg after a six-week lay-off.

Tevez believes fellow Argentina forward presents the biggest danger to United.

"Barcelona are one team with Messi but completely different without him. He is from another planet," stated Tevez, 24.

"He is very quick out of the blocks, he is a fantastic player.

"He is the main point of reference and the key man in the whole Barca team."

While United are on course for the Premier League title, Barcelona are third in the Spanish league, 11 points behind bitter rivals Real Madrid, with only five games to go.


Their derby draw on Saturday against Espanyol made it four matches without a win for the Catalans, their worst sequence in five years.

They will be without Brazil star Ronaldinho, who is out for the rest of the season with a leg injury, and who has been linked with a summer move to AC Milan.

However, right-back Gianluca Zambrotta believes the return of Messi could spark a tremendous end to their campaign.

"It is very important he is back against United because the whole season is at stake for us in this game," he said.

"We are having problems but I think everything is going to be different on Wednesday."

If we beat them with Messi they will have no excuses

Carlos Tevez

And Barca's former Chelsea forward Eidur Gudjohnsen says the attacking approach of Sir Alex Ferguson's side could play into their opposition's hands.

"United are a team that always want to play football and leave more space for the opposition than Liverpool or Chelsea," he explained.

Meanwhile, Messi declared himself "ready" to face Manchester United after the game against Espanyol and is determined to make up for missing the victory over Arsenal in the Champions League final in 2006.

"The Champions League motivates me more than ever. I could play no part in Paris and that still hurts," he said.

"I have unfinished business with this competition and I want to win it."

Tevez, however, is happy to face his compatriot and says beating Barcelona will carry more credence with him in the team.

"While he is a big danger for us, it is better he plays because we will have beaten the real Barcelona or gone out to the real team," he added.

"If we beat them with Messi they will have no excuses."

see also
Barcelona v Man Utd
21 Apr 08 |  Europe
Alan Hansen's column
21 Apr 08 |  Europe
Zenden on Champions League
21 Apr 08 |  Europe
Ronaldinho move to Milan in doubt
21 Apr 08 |  Football
Inter join chase for Ronaldinho
13 Apr 08 |  Europe

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