Lionel Messi is one of the best footballers in the history of the game and his quality on the pitch has taken the Argentinian to receive special attention wherever he goes. That’s why clubs always try to stop him, even though only a few have been able to contain him with a special mark.
However, he claims he’s not bothered by the man-marking he is regularly subjected to while playing for Barcelona and has picked a surprising player as one of his toughest opponents.
Messi’s skills and ability to decide a match have led to some opposition managers opting to man-mark the Argentine, assigning a player to follow him around the pitch.
Still, that doesn’t seem to bother the Argentina international, who revealed he’s adapted to these tactics.
“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 La Liga on DAZN.
“Depending on how the game is going, we [Messi and his man-marker] will say something to each other.”
Though he’s had some back and forths with Real Madrid center-back Sergio Ramos, Messi picked Spanish right-back, Pablo Maffeo, as a difficult opponent.
“I don’t remember, truly. The one from Girona [Maffeo], maybe. That was exaggerated,” he said.
Maffeo, 22, is now into his third loan stint with Girona but has previously been on the books of Manchester City and is now a Stuttgart player.
Messi also discussed how is being fouled for him, as he isn’t too concerned about it as long as his opponent has the intention of winning the ball.
“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.”
Seeing the number of rivals Messi has faced throughout his career and the quality of them, you have to be something special for him to pick you as one of his toughest opponents.