Messi has already hit eight goals this term to add to the 500-plus he has scored during an illustrious career with the Spanish giants.
Tottenham striker Kane has some way to go to match Messi’s phenomenal numbers, but the 25-year-old England captain is certainly not lacking in ambition.
“He set the standard, he and Cristiano Ronaldo gone above the normal standard, when they are scoring 50 or 60 goals a season,” said Kane.
“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.
🗣️ @HKane on facing Lionel Messi: "It’s a great test. As a player you want to play against the best players in the world and Messi is certainly that. But we have to focus on ourselves - we have some great players as well."#COYS pic.twitter.com/sB3ert8aZf— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) 2 October 2018
“It’s a great test for us. As players you want to play against best in world and Messi is certainly that, a fantastic player, and we will do our best to stop him.”
Spurs host the La Liga title holders looking to kick-start their Champions League campaign following defeat at Inter Milan in the opening group match.
They should fancy their chances, too. Barca have wobbled domestically lately with two draws and a defeat, to bottom side Leganes, in their last three matches.
Kane and Co can also draw on the memories of last season’s stunning 3-1 Wembley win over Real Madrid.
“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,” added Kane.
“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 and 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 do it without Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen, who have joined Dele Alli on a growing casualty list.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino said: “It is a period when we are not having good luck with injuries.
“We are not victims though. We must feel strong. Every player must feel they can win and achieve what we want.”
Hugo Lloris returns in goal after recovering from a thigh injury.
If there’s any time to face Barcelona it is now, however, as the Blaugrana stumble into Wembley having picked up two league points out of a possible nine against modest competition.
Meanwhile, Spurs have built up a sizable head of steam, with two league victories sandwiching a come-from-behind penalty shootout win against in-form Watford in the Carabao Cup.
Where will the game be won or lost? We’ve looked at two of the biggest factors below.
BARCELONA TACTIC POINT
AS screamed ‘4-4-2’ on its front page on Tuesday, as Ernesto Valverde reportedly turns back to his tried-and-tested tactic in a bid to safeguard Barca’s group stage passage – and perhaps his job.
The silk-steel hybrid at Barca is officially kaput. A fresh-legged Andres Iniesta and a tactically astute Xavi used to help Sergio Busquets out with the donkey work, but Barca simply no longer have that dynamism on and off the ball to accommodate three out-and-out forwards. Sorry, Ousmane Dembele.
Therefore if Valverde does break Barca’s purist tradition – again – Arturo Vidal becomes so important.
In layman’s terms he is a monster upgrade to Paulinho, harrying and accosting players off the ball and potent on it (he delivered a pinpoint pass to Luis Suarez against Athletic Bilbao from which the Uruguayan should have scored).
Among the Tottenham ranks Dele Alli is out, Mousa Dembele is touch-and-go and the midfield combo of Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama is not the slickest.
Barcelona will have the lion’s share of the ball, but if Vidal can also disrupt Tottenham ball at source, he’ll plate up plenty of problems for Mauricio Pochettino.
TOTTENHAM TALKING POINT
Barca’s 4-4-2 romped to the La Liga crown last season – but Roma ran roughshod over it while surging towards one of the great Champions League comebacks.
Kevin Strootman, Radja Nainggolan and Daniele De Rossi all played the part of a schoolboy bully to disrupt Lionel Messi and Co’s rhythm.
Tottenham don’t have the same options in the middle of the park but they can take a leaf out of Roma’s play book by flipping ‘directly’ to the right chapter.
Roma pinged balls over to Edin Dzeko all evening to the dismay of Gerard Pique, whose form is currently the stuff of nightmares.
Instead of Harry Kane though it will likely be Lucas Moura who leads the line, as he has done often this season in the Premier League.
His blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace is sure to trouble the leaden-footed Pique as well as Barca rookie Clement Lenglet – just as Inaki Williams did for Athletic on the weekend – while Kane can drop deep to create space between the lines and bail out his midfield.
It remains to be seen who Lopetegui will go for in Russia, having described both keepers as “magnificent solutions”.