Messi expecting tough City test for Barca

Lionel Messi is expecting a tough encounter when Manchester City face Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie next week.

The teams meet at this stage for the second season in succession, Barca having emerged with a 4-1 aggregate victory last time around.

Luis Enrique's men visit the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, before the reverse fixture at Camp Nou three weeks later, and Messi predicts a tight tussle for a place in the next round.

"It is going to be a hard match when we face City again, just like last year," he said in an exclusive video interview with Perform. "They are a team with great players, who want to get to the quarter-finals.

"They have been trying to achieve for a long time. They have spent a lot of money to have a good team, bringing in good players.

"So they are going out to win, and it will be a very even match, where the finer details could prove important. 

"I think that it will be a great match."

Asked whether he had discussed the fixture with Argentina team-mate and City striker Sergio Aguero, Messi revealed: "Yes, we talked when we saw each other, but only for a short time. We talked more about other things."

Barca are on an 11-match winning run in all competitions - sitting one point adrift of Liga leaders Real Madrid and holding a 3-1 advantage over Villarreal in their Copa del Rey semi-final - but Messi insists they can ill-afford to take their eye off the ball.

"We haven't won anything yet, so there is still a long way to go," he added. "There are still many months of competition left in La Liga and the Champions League and we still have to fight for a place in the Copa del Rey final, so I believe there is yet plenty of time to keep playing in this way in order to reach our goals."