David de Gea with ex-Red Chicharito after United's 2-1 win against West Ham

Why De Gea has score to settle at the Nou Camp

David De Gea might have a score to settle with Lionel Messi in the Nou Camp, and the Manchester United goalkeeper's reflexes are in the best possible shape to tackle the Argentine genius on Tuesday night.

Back in February 2011 the 20-year-old Atletico Madrid goalkeeper had already been identified by the then Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson as his priority target, to fill the upcoming vacancy as United's next goalkeeper to replace Edwin van Der Sar.

The Dutch legend had officially announced in late January 2011 that he would quit the game at the end of that season, and club staff had already been on the lookout for his eventual replacement.

A week after Edwin's announcement, on 5 February, De Gea was unable to quell the individual brilliance of Messi, who scored a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in the Catalan capital as Barca beat the visitors 3-0.

But that did not put off Sir Alex.

Video
De Gea is congratulated after his wonder save
Take another look at De Gea's incredible second-half save against West Ham on Saturday.
De Gea, of course, has since gone on to prove countless times that Sir Alex was right not to rip up his scouting reports on the Spaniard there and then.

And on Tuesday, De Gea will face Barcelona and Messi at the Nou Camp again.

Keeping Messi off the scoresheet would go some way towards helping United overturn the 1-0 first-leg defeat at Old Trafford, and help to potentially perform another miraculous comeback to advance into the Champions League semi-finals.

Saturday against West Ham was one way of warming up for the big showdown: De Gea pulled off one of those breathtaking trademark saves that feature time and again in his scrapbook. His astounding reflex save from Michaeil Antonio in the 76th minute kept the Reds level at 1-1, before Paul Pogba scored his second penalty of the match to win the game for United.
Antonio couldn’t believe it, saying afterwards:
“Maybe for the header, I could have got a better connection to put it straight into the net instead of heading it down, but you want to keep it down. I still think it should have gone in! De Gea is definitely a cat isn’t he!”


United’s feline goalkeeper modestly played down the save, telling us:
“Sometimes when the headers are very difficult for keepers, you don't know where the ball is going so you have to react quick. I just help the team, I make the save and we won.

“He was very good in the last 15 minutes. He created a lot of danger. He hit the bar and after I make the save in the right moment and we were 1-1 and after we get the penalty. We're happy but at the same time we need to improve a lot.
Messi versus de Gea could be crucial in the Nou Camp
Barcelona great Messi ended up blooded at old Trafford

“We didn't play our best game, we gave away a lot of chances, we didn't keep the possession. I think that they were better than us, but we scored two goals and at least we won the game. We got three points still here at Old Trafford.

“We have to improve a lot, a lot, and now we have a big challenge on Tuesday and we'll try to win the game. After today we can go with more confidence, with the three points. It’s a big challenge and a special occasion in Spain against Barcelona on a Champions League night, so it’s going to be an amazing game.

Leo 'The Lion' Messi versus United's Big Cat. Bring it on.

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