Pellistri excited for European experience
Facundo Pellistri is excited to potentially get his first taste of UEFA Champions League football when Manchester United take on Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.
The Uruguay international has experience of the World Cup finals with his country at the end of last year but has a maiden opportunity to take part in a competition where his three idols have excelled in the past.
Pellistri came off the bench for the third time in the Premier League this term during Saturday's disappointing 3-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion. The winger replaced debutant Sergio Reguilon in the 85th minute despite having been on World Cup qualifying duty, at altitude, against Ecuador in midweek.
Pellistri will hope for more action at the Allianz Arena as we begin our Group A campaign with a tough task against Thomas Tuchel's top seeds.
"It's one of the best tournaments in the world," Facundo told us at Carrington recently. "Manchester United deserves to be there and, as we are Manchester United, we have to give everything.
"The Barcelona games [in last season's Europa League play-off] were amazing and we are looking forward to those types of games in the Champions League. We are ready to play against everyone."
The 21-year-old has previously watched the players he feels have been among the best to witness, in the Champions League, while making his mark in the game as he enjoys seeing forwards taking on defenders and making an impact on matches.
"The best ones who do that [entertain] are [Lionel] Messi, Neymar, [Cristiano] Ronaldo," he said in an interview for United Review, Saturday's official matchday programme.
"The way they are on the wings. They get the ball and, every time, they create space for others by winning that one-v-one because football is 11 against 11.
"So, if everyone is with the man, it will be impossible. So someone has to make that dribble.
"So, yes, I really enjoy watching them because they make those things happen and make football what it is."
Of course, all three of those superstars will not be competing in this season's tournament after their recent transfers.
Ex-Red Ronaldo has 140 goals in the Champions League but is now plying his trade with Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, where Neymar is also appearing for Al-Hilal, after his recent switch from Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi also departed the French champions, embarking on a new chapter of his career with MLS side Inter Miami, in the United States.
So the stage has been left for new individuals to grab the headlines in the 2023/24 group stages and let's hope Erik ten Hag's men can sparkle when we get under way on Wednesday.