The Chelsea manager insists that the Barcelona superstar would inspire any of Arsenal, Manchester City or Manchester United to European glory were he to be a member of their squad
Jose Mourinho insists that any top-four club in the Premier League would win the Champions League if they had Lionel Messi in their squad.
Messi inspired Barcelona to a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of Bayern Munich on Wednesday, scoring twice – including a sumptuous chip over Manuel Neuer – and assisting Neymar in injury-time.
And Mourinho has lavished praise upon the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, insisting that he would inspire any elite English club to European glory.
“I think this guy makes the gap by himself,” Mourinho told reporters. “You have doubts that Man City with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Arsenal with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Chelsea with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Man United with Messi can win the Champions League? Don’t you think? I think.
“One thing is a team; another thing is a team with Messi. It is a different story.
“He played a Champions League final with [Pep] Guardiola, he is normally going to play in this season’s Champions League final with Luis Enrique,
“If, one day, he plays for Anthony, Anthony will go to a Champions League final with him. When people analyse teams, you have to remember that this boy makes everything different.”
Guardiola insists that “no system can stop Messi” but Mourinho has rebuffed that suggestion, insisting that he knows how to shackle the Argentine.
“Every time I played against Messi, I spent hours studying and trying to stop him,” he added. “Many times, we were successful. Other times, we were not successful. With Inter, we stopped him in both [semi-finals].
“The best way to do it is man-to-man because that is better than involving everyone. When you go man-to-man, you go with similar power – although man-to-man with him is an impossible job.
“Every time I was thinking about how best collectively – I am not saying stop him – to give him a difficult match. It is not about stopping him but giving him a difficult match. That is the best you do against him.”