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“I’m not Messi!” Dortmund’s Delaney downplays comparisons

Thomas Delaney, Borussia Dortmund
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Thomas Delaney has cooled talk comparing him to Barcelona star Lionel Messi after impressing in Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen.

Delaney arguably had his finest performance in a Dortmund jersey on Saturday at Signal Iduna Park. He played a key role in the build-up to Raphael Guerreiro’s late goal, while keeping Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz quiet for most of the game.

It was also the Dane’s first full 90 minutes, and second start, of the season for Lucien Favre’s side.

Despite his own starring role, however, Delaney was quick to play down talk of any Messi comparisons. Incidentally, the midfielder will go up against the Barcelona captain in Tuesday’s Champions League opener.

“I’m not Messi, I can’t dribble as nicely as he does, so I have to do other things on the pitch,” Delaney told reporters.

“It’s a good performance if I win a lot of duels and play good short passes.”

Marco Reus bagged a brace during the match itself, with former Barcelona striker Paco Alcacer scoring the other goal to seal Dortmund a 4-0 win.

“I don’t want to say that Leverkusen are Barcelona, but the game today was a good test for us,” continued Delaney.

“Leverkusen are one of the teams in the Bundesliga who play the most beautiful football.

“We needed a good performance and I think we played well defensively today as well. There have been long periods without the ball, but we have moved very well.

“That may also be important against Barcelona. We are now feeling confident.”

The 28-year-old, meanwhile, is looking forward to facing the Catalan giants having only played them once throughout his career. It came in a 1-1 draw with Copenhagen, where Claudemir cancelled out Messi’s goal in 2010.

“I played against Barcelona a couple of years ago,” said Delaney.

“At that time we played at home and drew 1-1 – that was not bad.”

Thomas Delaney, Borussia Dortmund
DORTMUND, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 14: Thomas Delaney of Borussia Dortmund goes between Lucas Alario and Julian Baumgartlinger of Bayer 04 Leverkusen during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Signal Iduna Park on September 14, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)