Lionel Messi Names Italian Giants Among Leading Champions League Title Contenders

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi has named reigning Serie A holders Inter among the leading candidates to win the Champions League crown. In an interview with French outlet France Football (via FCInterNews), the ex-Barcelona stalwart gave the Nerazzurri the upper hand over PSG in the race for European glory.

It is true that the spotlight is on PSG,” Messi acknowledged the Ligue 1 side’s status of Europe’s supreme power in the making. 

However, the Argentina captain admitted there are other high-quality sides that will stake their claim for the most prestigious club title in European football. 

There are other very strong teams, such as Chelsea, the two Manchester clubs, Real Madrid always having their say, Inter, Bayern Munich. I don’t know if I forget a few,” he added. 

Messi’s blockbuster arrival at the Parc des Princes in the summer has transformed PSG’s star-studded side into one of Europe’s most intimidating sides. Despite enduring a tough time in his early career in Paris, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner could be the catalyst to steer Les Parisiens to their first-ever Champions League title.

After being held to an underwhelming 1-1 away draw to Club Brugge in their group stage curtain-raiser, Mauricio Pochettino’s side put Manchester City to the sword last time out. A 2-0 home victory over the reigning Premier League champions, highlighted by Messi’s inaugural PSG strike, has proven the French side’s European credentials.

In the meantime, Inter could only manage a scoreless away draw with Shakhtar Donetsk last time out following a heartbreaking 1-0 home defeat to Real Madrid on Matchday 1. A sluggish start to their new Champions League campaign has cast doubt on the Italians’ European prospects.

Indeed, Inter have failed to negotiate their Champions League group stage campaign in the last four seasons in a row, last reaching the competition’s knock-outs in 2011/12. It will now be up to Simone Inzaghi and his men to live up to Messi’s comments as they prepare to take on the European surprise package Sheriff Tiraspol in the upcoming Champions League round.