Soccer

Robert Lewandowski better than Lionel Messi, claims German legend

Former Germany star Lothar Matthaus has expressed his belief that Robert Lewandowski is now the best footballer in the world.

Lewandowski and his Bayern Munich teammates face Lionel Messi and Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals this Friday.

And it is undoubtedly a mouthwatering match-up, with the two attackers widely regarded as two of the finest players of their generation.

But former Bayern hero Matthaus is in no doubt that Lewandowski claims bragging rights when it comes to current form.

He told Bild : "Messi faces his successor as the best player in the world: Robert Lewandowski. He is the best player, not just the best forward.

"The Barca of today is no longer the same as before. They have Messi, of course. A player like him is always capable of genius.

"But he alone will not be enough against this Bayern. Barcelona does not scare me."

Matthaus also says the German champions are the overwhelming favourites to win Friday's clash.

"Naturally Barcelona have enough quality to produce the best of themselves in one game, but I think Bayern will have to make many mistakes and do many things wrong to lose against this Barcelona," he told Sky Sport Germany.

Messi suffered an injury scare in the last-16 tie with Napoli but has stepped up his return ahead of this week's encounter.

And Sport has claimed that the Argentine superstar trained on his day off on Monday to ensure he is in tip-top shape for the European showdown.

Messi is understood to have spent an hour and a half at Barca's training complex.

Barca beat Bayern in the semi-finals in 2015, the last year they won the competition, which avenged a 7-0 thrashing on aggregate at the hands of the Germans in the last four in 2013.

The Catalans have been haunted in the last two years of the Champions League by their inability to see out comfortable first leg results, surrendering a 4-1 lead over Roma in 2018 and a 3-0 advantage over Liverpool last year.

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