Simon Kjaer says LaLiga leaders Sevilla do not fear Lionel Messi or Barcelona ahead of Saturday's top-of-the-table clash.
Sevilla travel to Camp Nou this weekend with a one-point lead ahead of reigning champions Barcelona after eight matches.
Only Barca have scored more goals than Sevilla this season, with Kjaer's side enjoying a remarkable start to 2018-19 thanks to five wins – including a stunning 3-0 victory over Real Madrid last month.
Barca captain Messi has hit the ground running this term with six LaLiga goals and 11 in all competitions but Kjaer and Sevilla do not fear the five-time Ballon d'Or winner or his team-mates as they prepare to take the game to the holders.
"Are there any more words in the world to use to describe Messi? He is simply a fantastic player, and when he hits his best level, it is extremely difficult to stop him," Kjaer told Omnisport.
"You can't man-mark Messi, because Barcelona have so many other great players that they will just take advantage of the extra space you leave for them. You have to defend collectively against Messi and reduce the spaces he can work in - and that way try to make sure that he will not have his best game against you.
"Again, it is a pleasure - and to me basically the best thing in football - to play against the greatest teams and the greatest players. And try to beat them."
Segunda sesión de trabajo de la semana a la espera de los cuatro internacionales que restan por llegar.— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) October 16, 2018
Toda la información https://t.co/InMSy30NRL#vamosmisevilla #LuchaPorLoQueAmas pic.twitter.com/YbuebJymCJ
Sevilla have not beaten Barca since 2015 – Pablo Machin's men coming off consecutive defeats to the Catalan giants in the Supercopa de Espana (2-1) and Copa del Rey final (5-0).
Not since 2010 have Sevilla beaten Barca at Camp Nou – that rare away success coming in the Copa del Rey during Pep Guardiola's tenure.
"You can't go to Camp Nou with fear in your mind, because then you will get destroyed," Denmark captain Kjaer added. "You have to believe in yourself as a team - believe in the way you play football. So no, we don't fear them but obviously we respect them as one of the greatest teams in the world.
"Having said that, it is our job to make sure that they don't reach their maximum level against us. And that we reach ours. You have to make Barca uncomfortable and challenge them with your game plan, so that they have to focus on playing both ways - and not only attacking the opponent. Parking the bus is not an option at Camp Nou. Then you will lose nine out of 10 times."
23 de abril 2019
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