Lionel Messi News: Chelsea boss Frank Lampard names the Barcelona star among the three toughest players he ever faced
What's the story?
In case you didn't know...
Before his leap into the managerial role, Lampard cemented his name as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation and a true Chelsea legend during his 13-year stint with the club.
The much-loved Englishman was an influential figure in Chelsea's golden era, winning several titles, including three Premier League trophies and a Champions League medal. He boasts of being the Blues' all-time leading goalscorer with 211 goals in 648 appearances for the club.
The 41-year-old manager crossed paths with the best players in the course of his trophy-laden career and a number of those encounters were against Barcelona, who were arguably the best and the most-feared team in Europe under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola.
The heart of the matter
In an interview with the UEFA, Lampard discussed the genius of Guardiola's Barcelona and how he hopes his Chelsea team will emulate the same level of intensity this season.
When asked to name the best players he faced, the former Derby County boss said,
"Can I give you two answers? It'll actually be three. The first one is [Lionel] Messi because he was the most incredible player – it was like you were playing against someone who's not on the same level as all of us.
"The two players I always remember having the hardest time against were Xavi [Hernández] and [Andrés] Iniesta at Barcelona. They just played football around you, and you didn't get near them. It was football that wasn't normal to me; it was different from anything else I came up against."
Following a torrid start to their Premier League season last weekend, Chelsea will next take on Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup tonight.