Andy Cole: Lionel Messi a danger to Man United's European dream

Manchester United stunned Paris Saint-Germain to reach the Champions League's last eight, where it will now face Lionel Messi's Barcelona.

Andy Cole described Lionel Messi (in picture) as a "little magician."   -  Getty Images

Lionel Messi is a "magician" who will pose the greatest threat to Manchester United when it takes on Barcelona in the Champions League, Andy Cole has warned his former club.

United faces Barca over two legs for a spot in the semifinals, having stunned Paris Saint-Germain with a last-gasp away-goals win in the French capital to reach the last eight. 

Cole, a European champion in United's 1998-99 treble-winning season, cited the danger that Messi represents to the club's hopes of getting its hands back on the famous trophy. "They've got a little magician in their team and, if he turns up, I'm not going to say 'we need to mark him out of the game' because you can't," the 47-year-old told United's official website.

 

"If he decides he's going to play and if he doesn't, he'll still play, he's that good. We'll have to wait and see."

'Anything's possible'

La Liga leader Barcelona is clear favourite to triumph, but Cole believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side can cause an upset if it sticks to its principles. "Anything's possible," he said ahead of Wednesday's first leg at Old Trafford. "We weren't expected to get past PSG but we did that. But we know Barcelona are a very good and special team.

"I think what we can do is play the way Manchester United should play. We did that when we won the Champions League in '99, we played Barcelona twice and both legs ended 3-3, with both teams playing attacking football which we're used to. We have to do exactly that."