Barcelona enforcer: Manchester City striker is my nightmare

Javier Mascherano

Manchester City take on Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night in the second leg of the last sixteen Champions League tie.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side face an uphill struggle in Catalonia as they hope to overturn a two-goal deficit suffered in the first leg at the Etihad against the Spanish champions after the Citizens were reduced to ten men.

Martin Demichelis’ dismissal by the referee for a foul on Lionel Messi saw the Premier League giants backed into their own half for the remainder of the game but the tie is comprised of 180 minutes and the Chilean coach and his team still have 90 minutes of it left to prove themselves worthy of a place in the quarterfinals of the competition.

Meanwhile, Barcelona midfielder and former Liverpool enforcer Javier Mascherano has described his ‘nightmare’ as he prepares to face City striker Sergio Aguero who has returned from injury after being sidelined for the first leg.

The Argentine knows the City star’s capability and danger in front of goal from his work with Aguero for the national team.

“I know Sergio well and in my opinion he is one of the best five strikers in the world,” said Mascherano.

The 29-year-old spent three years in the Premier League with Liverpool before moving to the Camp Nou in 2010 and 95 caps for his country.

“He is a great player and if he is given space he can be a nightmare to play against.

Aguero was ruled out injured for the first leg and as City’s top goal-scorer his availability for the second leg could be crucial to City’s challenge against the Spanish champions. Mascherano had been predominantly deployed as a defensive midfielder during his spell at Anfield but has functioned as a centre-back for the Catalans in recent years.

His compatriot may well be his jurisdiction to deal with on Wednesday night and while he will be hoping his nightmares don’t come true, Aguero certainly is one of the top strikers in world football and now he has something to prove ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer, for which he could be competing for his place in the Argentina line up with the likes of Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain.


Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch