Lloris braced to face 'one of the best in history' in Messi

The Barca star is enjoying another remarkable season and Tottenham’s goalkeeper accepts it will take something special to keep him quiet

Hugo Lloris is bracing himself to face “one of the best players in history” in Lionel Messi on Tuesday and believes the only way Tottenham can stop the Barcelona talisman is by sticking together.

Spurs going into their final Champions League Group B game at Camp Nou needing to at least match Inter’s result versus PSV in order to secure progression to the last 16.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde has assured Inter his team will be doing everything they can to beat Spurs, though the manager has promised changes to his lineup that defeated Espanyol 4-0 over the weekend.

Whether those changes will include the Barcelona star, who has 17 goals and nine assists between La Liga and the Champions League this season, is unknown, as Valverde told reporters it would be revealed when he released the lineup on Tuesday.

However, Lloris is preparing himself mentally to play the Argentine superstar, who has scored three goals in his last three games and struck twice in Barca’s 4-2 win at Wembley in October.

“You’re facing one of the best players in history,” Lloris said of Messi to reporters. “It will not be easy, but we will go out with 100 per cent belief that we can do it.

“It will be very tough to stop someone like Lionel Messi, but we will only do it as a team.

“If you watch the free-kicks [he scored against Espanyol on Saturday] there is nothing you can do. When they go in the top corner like the other night, he’s the type of player who can change the game and decide.

“It’s very difficult to face a player like him. The only way to do it is as a team, not give him too much space and be at our best defensively.”

Defeats to Inter at San Siro and to Barcelona at Wembley put the Tottenham’s Champions League knockout stage hopes in jeopardy, while a road draw against PSV did not help matters.

But wins against PSV and Inter at Wembley in their last two continental contests have given Spurs a chance at advancement in the competition.

A result against Barcelona at Camp Nou is the minimum required, however, they will face a Barca side that has already qualified for the knockout stage as group winners.

Spurs enter the contest having regained some momentum following a 4-2 derby defeat to Arsenal on December 2 with a pair of Premier League wins over Southampton and Leicester respectively.

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