HomeSportMunetsi ready for Messi showdown

Munetsi ready for Messi showdown

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

WARRIORS’ star Marshall Munetsi says he is unfazed by the prospect of coming up against undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time, Lionel Messi when his French club Stade Reims host a star laden Paris Saint- Germain in a high profile Ligue 1 encounter tonight.

Fresh from scoring his first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw against Metz last Sunday, the 25-year-old Zimbabwe international is expected to start in the eagerly awaited encounter, which kicks off at 8:45pm at the Stade Auguste Delaune.

Stade de Reims’ clash against PSG has been attracting global attention due to the potential presence of superstar Messi, who is finally expected to make his debut since his high profile move from Spanish heavyweights Barcelona.

Munetsi has established himself as a regular in the Stade de Reims midfield, where his defensive abilities will be important in containing PSG’s star studded attack which in addition to Messi also features Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria.

The main task for Munetsi will no doubt be to keep an eye on Messi as the Argentine superstar would be aiming to make an instant impact at his new club.

In an in-depth interview with the South African radio station Metro FM, a confident Munetsi said he was not intimidated but rather relishing the opportunity to come up against Messi and his band of PSG superstars.

“I think for me it is not about Messi alone, but the whole squad,” Munetsi said.

“As you know they have a lot of players, but obviously Messi is a game changer having him on the team. For me [the preparation] has been normal trying to prepare with good focus and listening what the coaches have to say when it comes to tactics. We have coaches who always try to have tactics not only for Messi, but the whole PSG squad.”

The Zimbabwean star, however, admitted that Messi would be the toughest opponent he has faced in his career after his previous battles against the likes of Neymar and Mbappe in the last two seasons.

“The toughest opponents that I’d faced before were Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, but obviously now im going to face Messi and you can’t take anything away from that, it’s going to be a tough ask for us as a team to try and minimise his capabilities,” Munetsi said.

“Before Messi there was Neymar and Mbappe, those guys really gave us a hard time when we played against them in the last two games.”

Munetsi, who is currently enjoying a good run of form at Reims after featuring Stade de Reims’s first three matches of the season, said his team’s biggest strength against PSG would be playing as a team compared to their opponents who rely more on individual brilliance.

Munetsi’s side are yet to taste defeat this season after drawing all their first three matches but have bitter memories of their previous encounter against PSG after being thumped 4-0.

The hardworking Zimbabwean midfielder headlines the few Europe-based players who will feature in the Warriors’ opening World Cup matches against South Africa and Ethiopia on September 3 and 7 respectively.

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