The pair came face-to-face in the spring as the clubs played the first leg of their Champions League final-16 encounter, which ended 1-1 in Naples.

Demme: It’s brilliant what Messi does with the ball

Napoli midfielder Diego Demme highlighted how hard it is to hold back Barcelona superstar Leo Messi. The pair came face-to-face in the spring as the clubs played the first leg of their Champions League final-16 encounter, which ended 1-1 in Naples. August 8 is the date planned for the return match. While Barca are swinging after losing the title in the LaLiga to the eternal opponents Real Madrid, Diego is focused on the prospect of fighting Messi, who has publicly criticized his side after the Osasuna strike 2: 1 in the middle of the week. “Messi is a crazy player,” he explained. “It’s brilliant what he does with the ball. Before that, I only saw him on TV and thought: “It can’t be difficult to take the ball away from him.

 

In the game itself, I was sure in two or three situations that I had the ball. And then he made such quick movements that I ran into nothing!”

Napoli’s Coppa Italia was tainted by the fact that it was played without fans

Demme reckons the draw is evenly balanced ahead of the return move in Spain, a match in which Barça will be shortened from a suspended Arturo Vidal after being sent into the final stages of the opening clash. “The 1-1 draw in the first segment showed that we could keep up with them,” he said. “We haven’t been that bad in the last few weeks, and the second leg has 50-50 odds, even without spectators.” The defensive midfielder also admitted that Napoli’s Coppa Italia was tainted by the fact that it was played without fans in the stadium. “It’s still an extraordinary feeling,” he admitted. And it’s kind of sad. We won the cup – and we had to celebrate in an empty stadium. I hope that normalcy returns soon.”

“It was a mega moment. Apart from the promotion in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig, that was my absolute highlight. And finally, I was allowed to hold such a trophy in my hands. Fans were waiting for us, all of Naples hung out and celebrated. I could not fall asleep after the game.”