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Messi hopes to be at best for Man City

Lionel Messi is confident he will be fully fit and back to his top form by the time Barcelona meet Manchester City in the Champions League.

• Ledwith: Defensive excellence trumps attacking guile

The four-time World Player of the Year has recently returned after spending eight weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Messi has appeared twice as a substitute, scoring a brace in Barcelona’s 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Getafe and then featuring in the second half of the Liga stalemate against Atletico Madrid.

But the 26-year-old Argentine, who is Barcelona’s all-time record scorer with 329 goals, believes he will be in peak condition by the time the Spanish champions visit the Etihad Stadium on Feb. 18 for the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Messi is quoted by The Sun as saying:  “I’ve not yet played a full game. Surely with the rhythm of more games I play and as time goes by I will be at my 100 percent in a few weeks and certainly expect to be at my best when we face City.

“Barcelona is always aspiring to win the biggest titles as it is such a big club and has to fight for every trophy.”

City are hopeful that midfielder Samir Nasri will be fit again in time for the second leg at the Camp Nou on Mar. 12.

The France international suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Newcastle.

And manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “We hope he can come back as soon as possible but I think less than six or seven weeks will be difficult.”

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