Barcelona v Celtic: key battles

Will Celtic wilt or stand strong against Lionel Messi and co.? Photo: PA

Celtic face a mighty test in Barcelona for their Champions League Group G fixture on Tuesday 23rd October. Here are the key battles, plus photos of the Hoops training in the Catalan capital.


What's left to say about Messi? The Argentinean superstar hit his 21st Barcelona hat-trick as 10-man Barca won 5-4 at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday to confirm a widely-held belief that he is the greatest player ever. Messi does not play as an orthodox centre forward but is likely to be the first point of contact for Wilson. The former Nottingham Forest stopper has established himself as a regular in Neil Lennon's plans this season and will be hoping that the calf complaint which kept him out of the 5-0 win over St Mirren at the weekend is fully healed.


There are few better players in world football than Iniesta. The 28-year-old midfielder has three Champions League medals and five La Liga titles on his CV. And in between two European Championship wins with Spain he scored the winner against Holland in the 2010 World Cup final. Brown has taken another injection to get through his on-going hip complaint and missed the win over St Mirren on Saturday. Hoops boss Lennon claims the Scotland midfielder is in the best form of his Celtic career and he will certainly need to be if he is to shackle one of the most creative and influential players of all time.


Barcelona have defensive problems ahead of the visit of Celtic with Spain stopper Gerard Pique struggling with a foot injury and Carlos Puyol, Daniel Alves and Eric Abidal already ruled out. Midfielder Mascherano played in a makeshift Barca central defence along with Alex Song in the 5-4 win over Deportivo at the weekend and his unease showed. Hooper is on the sort of form which can cause the Catalans problems. The prolific Englishman scored his eighth goal in six games at St Mirren after notching in the 3-2 win against Spartak in Russia earlier in the month.

Circle the wagons. Credit: PA
Stretching it a bit. Credit: PA
Celtic boss Lennon must find a way to contain Barcelona. Credit: PA
Barcelona star Cesc Fabregas takes a break in training. Credit: PA
How do you stop Lionel Messi, the world's best player? Good question. Credit: PA
And how do you find a way past Carles Puyol? Credit: PA