LONDON: Harry Kane has set his sights on emulating the incredible goal-scoring feats of Lionel Messi as the Tottenham striker prepares for his shoot-out with the Barcelona legend.
Kane and Messi will be the leading men at Wembley on Wednesday when Tottenham host Barcelona in a crucial Champions League clash.
Messi has already scored eight times this season, including a hat-trick in Barca’s European demolition of PSV Eindhoven, taking his career tally for the club to well over 500 goals.
Kane has been prolific for Tottenham over the last four years, but he admits he needs to become even more ruthless with his finishing to approach the jaw-dropping statistics compiled by the Argentinan forward.
“He set the standard, he and Cristiano Ronaldo have gone above the normal standard when they are scoring 50 or 60 goals a season,” Kane said on Tuesday.
“As a striker, I want to try and match that. He’s definitely set the standard for the rest of us and he still is.
“It motivates me to get even better and improve and hopefully one day score as many, if not more than he has.
“It’s a great test for us. As players, you want to play against the best in the world and Messi is certainly that, a fantastic player, and we will do our best to stop him.”
Tottenham lost their opening European game at Inter Milan, leaving the Premier League side with no margin for error as they try to qualify for the knockout stages.
If Mauricio Pochettino’s side are to make it to the last 16, a victory over Spanish champions Barcelona would be a major boost.
And to achieve that goal, they will need England captain Kane at his lethal best.
– Amazing energy –
Kane, who finished as the World Cup’s top scorer earlier this year, is back in form, with three goals in his last two games after a lethargic start to the season.
Barca have wobbled domestically of late, with two draws and a defeat, to bottom side Leganes, in their last three matches.
Hoping to add to Barca’s problems, Kane says Tottenham will draw on the memories of last season’s stunning 3-1 Wembley win over Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages.
“We got off to a great start last season, beating Dortmund at home. It was not so great to lose to Inter this time around,” Kane said.
“We’ve got to prove we can beat the best teams in the world and we need to do that against Barcelona.
“Barcelona might play better than Real Madrid did last season. We need to produce that same energy, the crowd were amazing that night.
“If we can get them on their feet as soon as possible, create some chances and take one or two it would put us in a great position.
“We went through a stage where we didn’t win in three matches and maybe a bit of pressure starts to build.
“I’m sure Barcelona want to bounce back but it’s our chance to stop them and win four games in a row, which would be great momentum for us.”
Spurs will have to take on Barcelona without Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen, who have joined Dele Alli on a growing casualty list.
“It is a period when we are not having good luck with injuries,” Pochettino said.
“We are not victims though. We must feel strong. Every player must feel they can win and achieve what we want.”