Lyon’s Marcelo reveals Mbappe was harder to face than Messi

KAZAN, RUSSIA - JUNE 30: Kylian Mbappe of France consoles Lionel Messi of Argentina following France's victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between France and Argentina at Kazan Arena on June 30, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Taking on Kylian Mbappe proved to be a more complex challenge than five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, says Lyon’s Marcelo.

The Brazilian centre-back has now had the rare privilege of going up against two of the world’s most exciting footballers this month and, therefore, is one of very few players who are in a position to accurately compare Mbappe and Messi.

Marcelo first met Mbappe in October 2018, where the 20-year-old forward scored four times to help Paris Saint-Germain claim a memorable 5-0 victory at the Parc Des Princes.

But Marcelo helped Lyon get revenge on February 2 by ending PSG’s unbeaten start in Ligue 1 with a 2-1 win before going up against Messi in their Champions League clash with Barcelona on Tuesday.

The Argentine superstar had a rare low-key performance in France and was brilliantly denied by Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes on the night as the hosts held Barcelona to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

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And now Marcelo has shared his experience in going directly head-to-head with both Mbappe and Messi.

“The players I’ve played against in recent times are at the very top level,” Marcelo told Goal.

“Playing against Mbappe this season, he gave me a lot of work. Messi didn’t play very well [on Tuesday], but Mbappe, for the speed, positioning, having direct confrontations with him, he was the most difficult.

“I think there is a great possibility that he will soon become the best in the world. There are some points that he needs to improve to be compared to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is evolving very fast.”

Marcelo’s opinion may change though on March 13 for the second leg on Lyon’s last-16 tie with Barcelona in the Champions League, where he will have to contain Messi for another 90 minutes at Camp Nou.

FARO, PORTUGAL – AUGUST 01: Marcelo from Lyon celebrates scoring Lyon first goal during the match between SL Benfica v Lyon for the International Champions Cup – Eusebio Cup 2018 at Estadio do Algarve on August 1, 2018 in Faro, Portugal. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)