Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has played against some of the greatest defenders the sport has ever seen, but the Argentine captain has named a surprising defender as his toughest man-marker.
It is no surprise that Messi is one of the players the opposition defenders tend to focus on throughout the game as he is capable of single-handedly altering the fate of the match.
This, however, does not bother the six-time Ballon d’Or winner as he is used to being man-marked on a regular basis as that’s a particular tactic many teams apply in order to make an attempt to stop the Argentine magician.
“There are ugly games and strange games. Games in which you always have a man close to you. It doesn’t happen to me much. But it doesn’t bother me either. Those are strange, different games,” Messi told DAZN (via Goal)
Leo has played against the best center-backs the world of football has to offer through the many years he has spent in the sport. He has been man-marked on many occasions, especially against Real Madrid with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Casemiro looking to press the Barca no. 10 on every occasion that they get in order to minimize the impact Messi has on the game.
Despite having such incredible talents played and man-marked against him, the Argentinian international surprisingly picked Girona defender, Pablo Maffeo, as a difficult opposition to play against. When he was asked who the toughest man-marker was, he said,
“I don’t remember, truly. The one from Girona [Maffeo], maybe. That was exaggerated.”
Maffeo is a 22-year-old right-back for Girona on a loan deal from Stuttgart. This is his third loan spell with the Spanish side, previously joining from Premier League side, Manchester City.
The recent foul from 21-year-old Federico Valverde on Álvaro Morata during Real Madrid’s victory over Atletico Madrid caused a lot of controversy on the state of being fouled in the sport of football. Lionel also opened up about being fouled heavily on a regular basis and if it is good for the sport,
“I never complained about it. I think that contact and kicks are part of football. It does bother me when the tackles have bad intentions. If that isn’t the case, then it’s part of the game and I don’t take it badly.”
With Barcelona looking to improve under newly appointed manager Quique Setien after their poor performances in the first half of the current campaign, it remains to be seen what positive impact the new coach could bring to this exciting squad. Setien’s first appearances as a Barca coach will be against Granda on Sunday.