It will be the PSL’s best versus the best of La Liga when Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns meets Barcelona’s Lionel Messi at Soccer City on Wednesday night (6:15pm).
They’re both left-footed and they are both the top scorers in their respective leagues.
Tau’s surname translates to “lion” in Sotho and Lionel Messi’s nickname is “Leo” - setting up a clash between the two alpha males of their respective leagues.
Messi has been named the best player in the world five times and is regarded as one of the greatest to ever kick a soccer ball.
For Downs ace Tau, who at 1.75m stands 5cm taller than the Argentina superstar, the comparison is almost a joke.
The 25-year-old says: “It’s because we both play with the left foot. Maybe that’s where the comparison comes from. But I don’t feel any pressure from those talks. I’ll never compare myself to that guy. He’s on another level.”
But Tau has arguably been South Africa’s best player for the last two seasons, helping Downs to the PSL title with his creative play and goals. And the next step for him could be a move to Europe.
That’s why Wednesday’s match is the perfect platform for Tau to showcase his natural talent. If he impresses, like he has in recent times, Tau hopes to make the step up when the right opportunity comes along.
The Bafana Bafana attacker adds: “If I get a good offer overseas, I will leave. If I don’t, I will remain at Sundowns and give it my all like I have been doing.
“I am ready to move to Europe. I have played in the Caf Champions League, the Club World Cup and have played for Bafana. I have seen a lot of good things about myself.
“My motivation to be better than I was yesterday wakes me up in the morning.” Coach Pitso Mosimane is also keen to test himself against the La Liga champions after conquering the PSL once again.
He tells reporters: “The Barca game is for the guys to get experience, and see what the difference in level is between us and Barca; PSL and La Liga; Africa and Europe.”