Brendan Rodgers claims that Celtic would have a chance of beating Barcelona if Lionel Messi swapped clubs.
Celtic’s journey in the Champions League came to an end on Wednesday after a 2-0 defeat to the Spanish side, coupled with Borussia Monchengladbach’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City, meant that they will finish bottom of their group.
Messi scored both goals in Barcelona’s victory, with Celtic posing a far bigger challenge than the last time the two sides met.
Barcelona won the reverse fixture 7-0, but should have been level at 1-1 this time around when Moussa Dembele headed straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The Spanish side doubled their lead shortly after, and Rodgers believes that the two clubs would not be far apart if Messi – perhaps the greatest footballer ever to have lived – was on the opposite side.
“We’d have had a big chance,” he said, when asked if Celtic could win if they had the Argentinean.
“It shows the difference he makes – you look at the game at the weekend [against Malaga]. Messi is arguably the greatest player ever, so when he plays in your team, he makes everyone else better.
“He’s a phenomenal player, an incredible player, and he always is hungry to score. His first goal was that run that he makes, and a wonderful finish. Our players will learn you can’t give a player of that quality that space.”