BRENDAN Rodgers is hoping Celtic centre half Jozo Simunovic has the nerve to deal with squaring up to Paris Saint-Germain forward line Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe after surviving a stare-off with Lionel Messi last season.

Simunovic, who yesterday signed a new four year contract which ties him to the Parkhead club until 2021, played in a Champions League group game against Barcelona in Glasgow back in November.

Rodgers is optimistic that facing Argentinian great Mess in the 2016/17 campaign, who spent the entire 90 minutes glaring at him, will have prepared the 23-year-old Bosnian for an encounter with the most expensive strikeforce in football history.

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“Defenders will develop against the level of movement and speed and technique these guys have,” he said.

“I remember talking to Jozo last year and I said ‘go on and tell me, what was it like to face Messi?’ He told me ‘every time I turned round he was staring at me!’ He just said ‘he was looking at me and it unnerved me’.

“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.

“You don’t get that look in Scotland – well you do but they might be looking for something else!

“They stare in a physical way ‘what are you doing big yin?’ But you learn from it.”