Chelsea and Czech international goalkeeper Petr Čech has been studying videos of the goal scoring talent of Barcelona star Lionel Messi ahead of the Champions League semifinal between English and Catalan club.
And he admits it’s taking some time. “He has great technical skills and above all can react to game. e He knows in the last fraction of a second how to choose the idea solution. Only maybe Zidane could do that better than him,” Čech commented on his personal web site.
Barcelona go into Wednesday night’s game the firm favorites to qualify for the final and hang onto the title won last year. But Čech is keen to stress Chelsea’s chances although they are off the leaders in the Premier League, had to make an heroic second leg comeback against Napoli in the Champions League to get through to the quarterfinals and then win in scrappy style against Benfica in home and away legs where the Portuguese teams often looked superior.
In the last encounter between the two clubs at the same stage of the Champions League in 2009, Barcelona went through on away goals after a very late equalizer at Chelsea. The London club felt hard done by after a series of penalty claims were brushed away by the referee.
‘Messi has so many options for finishing. But on the other hand he is just a person, and if we are able to play at 100 percent capacity we can stop him.’
In the previous eight meetings between the clubs they totted up three victories apiece and two draws — though Barcelona usually had the better goal difference over the two legs and usually went through to the next stage when that was a factor.
“I agree they [Barcelona] are the favorites for the whole of the Champions League, but when we have got so far, no-one wants to finish in the semifinal,” said Čech, adding that most of the games in which he played for Chelsea against Barcelona were evenly balanced and decided on trifles.
Čech started studying the video of Messi goals on Sunday night, soon after the 5-1 FA CUP semifinal win against Tottenham earlier in the day. “Messi has so many options for finishing. But on the other hand he is just a person, and if we are able to play at 100 percent capacity we can stop him,” said the Chelsea ‘keeper.