Turns out, going up against the devastating finesse of Lionel Messi produces intrigue from all quarters.

As the dust settled on Celtic’s meeting with Barcelona in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League last season, Brendan Rodgers was like any other fan as he prompted his centre-half for the details of what it is like to square up to the world’s best player.

“I said ‘go on and tell me, what was it like to face Messi?’” smiled Rodgers. “He told me ‘every time I turned round he was staring at me!’

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“Jozo just said ‘he was looking at me and it unnerved me.'

“That’s the level of player – the likes of Messi and Suarez don’t go to the ball, the ball comes to them. All they are looking for is the space.

“When they see a guy move they move. Messi last year was just watching and waiting for his moment as you saw for his first goal and when they sense it they have the speed to get in there. They also have the technique to finish.

“They [the players] are in the cauldron. I’m a coach and I see the game but it’s important to ask a player what they learned. I asked Mikael Lustig what he’s gained from playing against Neymar four times. It’s important because these are the guys in the game.

“Us coaches can see things, the media make the right passes from the stand but the guys who are on the pitch are in a different sport altogether. It’s important to get the feedback from them.

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“There’s also maybe something you can share with another player.”

Simunovic might have a different take to tell again after this evening.

Brazilian playmaker Neymar’s superstar status was encapsulated in the Number 7 restaurant at Celtic Park yesterday afternoon when a journalist from Brazilian television was present to keep track of the world’s most expensive player.

And while Neymar and his entourage are not new to Celtic given the amount of times Celtic have played Barcelona of late but the emerging talent of Kylian Mbappe is.

The teenager shot to the fore last season with an impressive debut season at Monaco and PSG have wheedled their way around the financial fair play regulations by taking the 18-year-old on an obligated loan deal, meaning they will shell out the £145m for the forward next summer.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently compared Mbappe to Brazilian legend Pele, while Rodgers has revealed that Thierry Henry was the player who came to mind as he watched the youngster perform last term.

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Certainly, Simunovic – who signed a four-year contract extension with the club yesterday - can count on another unnerving evening.

“When you see his speed, movement and quality to me he looked last year like Henry in his pomp,” said Rodgers.

“That was the big comparison I made. I thought it was as close to Henry as you could get – he peels to the left side, chops back in. He has speed, can shoot and linked up well in a two with Falcao or can play on his own.

“He’s a huge talent so for any club with the money to invest then it’s a no lose situation. He looks an amazing player.”

Rodgers has maintained throughout his time at Celtic that he will always look to put out aggressive teams who have the energy to press and it will be interesting to see just how they fare against PSG tomorrow night.

However, with Bayern Munich and Anderlecht the other teams in the Group B, Rodgers believes that Celtic’s campaign has to be tempered with realism.

“We talk about making a mark on the group - with Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich and Anderlecht,” he said.

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“We have to have a sense of reality on it as well. You cannot get carried away and try to pretend we are something we are not. We are a club playing in a country where we have to fight our way through - we have a budget where one of their players would get paid more.

“That’s the reality of where we’re at. So I don’t think anyone would say we were insignificant if we didn’t come out the group stages. But of course, for our own performance level and for the nation, we are trying to gain credibility. And obviously, as professionals, we want to continue in Europe after Christmas.

“But you have to understand the size of the task. It’s not just playstation. It’s top, top players we are playing.”

Rodgers was delighted to go into the game with his captain and Simunovic tied up on long-term deals, and has revealed that there could a few more to follow.

“Scott has been a great captain here over many years. He’s consistently played at a very high level,” enthused Rodgers.

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“We’ve been talking about a new contract and it was just about getting through the qualification. So I’m delighted.

“Jozo is a young player who had a focus on his injury from the past but this is a great arena for him to play.

“He’s in coaching environment where he needs that development. Once he’s fit and trains consistently he’s an outstanding talent.

“So it’s great news for our squad because we’re trying to build and create something here.

“We have one or two others we’ll now look at to make sure the squad stays as stable as possible.”

Rodgers has also confirmed that Leigh Griffiths is fit while there was a hint that Odsonne Edouard could possibly start the game too. Moussa Dembele is believed to be pushing for a place on the bench.