Yaya Toure has warned his Manchester City teammates they cannot afford to underestimate Barcelona if they are to emerge victorious from the last 16 tie, reports the Express.

Toure has dismissed suggestions that Barcelona are no longer the force they were under Pep Guardiola, and believes City will be in for a shock if they take on that notion when the teams meet at the Etihad tonight.

“Playing them really is a poisoned chalice,” Toure said.

“Because at the moment public opinion says that Barcelona are not in top form, that they don’t have the same edge as they had during the Guardiola era or under Tita Vilanova.

“But, honestly, I think these people are sticking a finger in their eye. Their players know to transform themselves for the right game at the right time of the season.

“Having played there I now all about their mentality. This is the Champions League, the last 16. They will be concentrating hard and applying themselves because they know the match is being played over two games, and they have a lot of experience.

“Whenever they enter a competition, whether it’s a cup or any match over two legs, they concentrate very hard. Barcelona are always expected to reach the semi-finals, at least, of every competition they enter. Anything else is very surprising.”

Toure believes the key to Manchester City winning the tie will be stopping Lionel Messi, the man he describes as the best player in the world.

“That’s a big problem. For me he is the best,” he added.

“It’s true that Cristiano Ronaldo won the last Ballon d’Or, but I think if Messi hadn’t had that injury which kept him sidelined for a month he would have won it again. As we often say, Cristiano Ronadlo’s unlucky to find himself in the Messi era, and this era is about Messi.”

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