Peter Crouch claims Stoke City could’ve ‘turned over’ Lionel Messi’s Barcelona
Former England hero Peter Crouch has remarkably claimed that Stoke City could have "turned over" Lionel Messi's Barcelona in their prime.
Joining the then-Premier League Potters as their record signing in 2011, Tony Pulis forked out £12million to pry Crouch away from Tottenham Hotspur and the 6ft 7 forward immediately repaid his manager's faith, bagging Player of the Year and Goal of the Year in his debut campaign.
Key to Stoke's ten-year stay in the top-flight was their incredible form at the Britannia Stadium, coining the opposition phrase 'can they do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?'
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While Crouch certainly could, the ex-Three Lions ace bagged 62 goals in 261 appearances, the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool all learned to loath the trip along the M6.
"I bought into it because when I arrived there, there was a lot of players that were playing above themselves, but the attitude and camaraderie in the group was amazing,' Crouch told Joe Cole as part of his BT Sport podcast.
"It was one of the best dressing rooms that I've ever been a part of, you just knew you were going into battle everyday and going to get a result because of the work rate, attitude, the endeavour and dedication."
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Known for a fondness of set-plays and ruggedness, Arsene Wenger for one hated Stoke's "rugby" style of play, winning just twice at the Britannia during the Potters' decade-long Premier League stint.
"You cannot say it is football anymore," harked the former Arsenal boss in 2010. "It is more rugby on the goalkeepers than football. When you see the way Shawcross kicked Heurelho Gomes, how Robert Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football anymore."
It was their unique style of play that lead Crouch to believe Pulis' Stoke were the "only team" that could've beaten Barcelona in their prime.
"I reckon at that time we were the only team that could beat Barcelona. We just made things horrible," he continued. "If Messi or Iniesta came to the Britannia at that time, I reckon we could have turned them over because we made it horrendous for teams."
Though ex-Potters team-mate Bojan Krkic disagrees, once stating Messi certainly could do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke.
"Messi can do it!" he told Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Guillem Balague. "I understand that teams don't like to come to the Britannia Stadium, especially in winter with the wind, the cold … and we're a strong team. It's not easy. But I try to enjoy it and I try to improve my football in that situation."
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