Arsenal defender 'not scared' by Messi

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Arsenal defender Johan Djourou refuses to be intimidated by the reputation of Lionel Messi in Wednesday night's Champions League clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Messi struck four goals when the rivals met in the second leg of the quarter-finals last year and is viewed as the world's best player. But Djourou is ready to test himself against the Argentina forward and insists Barcelona have too much talent to concentrate on one individual.

"You don't get scared, if I was scared I wouldn't be playing," said Djourou. "Messi is just a great player, he has shown that across the world, but I am excited. We know about Messi but it's not only about him. There is Xavi and Andres Iniesta as well."

He added: "Every game is a big game, I don't see it as bigger because it is Barcelona. They are the best team in the world but for me and the team it is a normal game. We want to be focused and go through.

"We all know what they can do, we've watched their games. We have to be focused for 90 minutes, but don't forget we have great players going forwards as well."


Djourou explains what victory in the first leg of the round of 16 tie would do to Arsenal's own reputation.

"It would show we have great ability, not only in the Premier League but also in Europe," he said. "We could show the world that Arsenal is a big club. It is great, we are not conceding many goals. We have good defenders at the club and are getting good results."

Djourou has been a revelation in Arsenal's defence after missing virtually the whole of last season with a serious knee injury.

"Everything has gone well for me. I have the confidence of the manager and I'm happy I'm in the team and showing what I can do," he said.

"You get doubts when you are out, but once I came back I knew it would be okay. For me it was a good point to show my injury is fine and in the past, now I am enjoying myself and I want to keep it that way."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Johan Djourou
UEFA Champions League

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