Manchester City latest: Early team news and Xavi warns Blues off Messi move

All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from the Etihad…

This evening Manchester City play arguably the biggest game in their history, knowing that if they can somehow overturn a two-goal deficit away to Barcelona in the last-16 of the Champions League, they will finally become a force to be reckoned with in Europe’s elite competition.

In early team news, the BBC reports that the Spanish side are at practically full-strength going into the match, with only Jonathan dos Santos and Isaac Cuenca unavailable.

City are without the suspended Martin Demichelis, while fellow defender Matija Nastasic and forward Stevan Jovetic are both out injured.

Joleon Lescott is expected to play in the centre of defence alongside Vincent Kompany.

City may need to score two goals without reply just to take the match into extra-time, but their assistant manager Ruben Cousillas has said they will not go gung-ho in pursuit of the victory.

In quotes published by the Mirror, Cousillas said, “We will try to be the main characters. We will take risks with precautions."

With Manuel Pellegrini serving the first of a two-game touchline ban, his assistant will be take control closer to the action, and he added, “I know Manuel has confidence in me and I am up to the challenge.”

And finally, while they may have been somewhat fancifully linked with a move for Lionel Messi in the past, City can forget about luring the Argentine to the Etihad according to his teammate Xavi.

The Spanish international was talking to Goal when he said, “Of course there will always be stories about the best player in the world and in my opinion the best player ever – but Manchester City and any other team can forget about signing Messi.

“There is no transfer fee that could make it a good deal for Barcelona, and as everybody who knows him knows, he loves the club and has made it clear he never wants to leave.”

So that appears to be that, then!

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