Tottenham Hotspur overcame their Manchester City demons to enter semifinals of UEFA Champions League but their manager Mauricio Pochettino still feels they are not the favourites to lift the trophy this season and the reason is ‘Lionel Messi’.

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Pochettino feels that Barcelona are the favourites to win the European biggest prize as they have Lionel Messi in their team. On Saturday, Barcelona won their second consecutive La Liga title owing to Messi’s lone goal against Levante at Camp Nou. It was Barcelona’s eighth title in last 11 seasons.

The Argentine has scored 34 goals in La Liga this season and is leading the race of European Golden boot at the moment, followed by PSG’s wonderkid Kylian Mbappe. He is also the highest assist provider this season in Europe top five leagues. In Champions League also he has the most goals this season 10.

All these factors are the main reason why Tottenham manager picked Barcelona over his own team. Speaking in an interview, Pochettino was in full praise for Messi, calling him the ‘best in the world’.

“There are no favourites if we see what happened in the quarter-finals, but personally I believe that the favourites are the team that have Lionel Messi and that’s Barcelona.”If Messi wasn’t there each semi-finalist would have 25 percent chance. Messi is the best in the world and his motivation is to fight for the Champions League. He has been the best for years and he will remain so until he wants.”

However, Barcelona will face stiff competition in Liverpool in the semifinals of Champions league. The first tie of the most anticipated clash will be played on Thursday at Camp Nou. The Blaugranas are well on course for another historic treble as they are strong favourites in the Copa Del Rey and in the Champions League. However, Liverpool might just surprise the Catalan giants if they don’t do their homework thoroughly.

Pochettino’s Tottenham will face the giant slayers Ajax in the other semifinal clash. Unfortunately for the English side, Spurs will miss the services of striker Harry Kane in the clash due to injury.

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