Lionel Messi shares his expectations of Celtic fans

Barcelona's Lionel Messi

Celtic and Barcelona will face each other in a pre-season friendly on Saturday evening.

Barcelona's Lionel MessiBarcelona's Lionel Messi

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has told The Daily Record that Celtic belong in the Champions League.

The Argentina international, who is regarded by many as the best player in the world at the moment, has also spoken highly of the Celtic fans.

Celtic have progressed to the Champions League qualifying third round and are aiming to eventually advance to the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition.

The Scottish Premiership giants played out a 1-1 draw with FC Astana in the first leg of the tie away from home on Wednesday evening.

Celtic fansCeltic fans

Brendan Rodgers’s side will take on the Kazakhstan Premier League outfit in the second leg of the tie next week.

Celtic will warm up for that game with a pre-season friendly match against Barcelona on Saturday evening.

The game will be held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, and it promises to be a competitive match.

Barcelona superstar Messi has spoken highly of Celtic and the club’s fans.

The Argentine expects the Celtic supporters to make a lot of noise at the stadium during the pre-season friendly.

Celtic fans as New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is presented after the press conferenceCeltic fans

“For Celtic they have much more important games than this coming up with the Champions League qualifiers, but this can help them prepare,” Messi told The Daily Record.

“We have had some games against Celtic that I will always remember, and they are a big club, with big fans, and I would like to see them qualify this year - it is where they belong.”

“It is always a good atmosphere against Celtic,” added the 29-year-old. “For the players at Barcelona who experienced the games in Europe against them, they will know what to expect from their fans.

“It is only a friendly, but I don’t think there fans know what a friendly is. There are a lot of Celtic fans in Ireland, and I expect them to make a lot of noise and create another special atmosphere.”

Barcelona will head into the pre-season friendly match as favourites, but Celtic do have the ability to eke out a draw at least.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in actionBarcelona's Lionel Messi in action

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