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26th May 2019

James Milner reveals Lionel Messi called him a ‘donkey’ during semi-final first leg

James Milner has revealed that Lionel Messi called him a donkey at half-time in the first leg of Liverpool's semi-final against Barcelona

Reuben Pinder

Messi presumably did not anticipate Milner being fluent in Spanish

James Milner has revealed that Lionel Messi called him a donkey during Liverpool’s semi-final first leg against Barcelona at the Nou Camp this season.

The pair clashed after Milner barged Messi to the ground after the ball had gone out of play in a not so subtle piece of shithousery. While Milner acknowledges Messi is the best player in the world, he was not going to allow that admiration to prevent him from doing everything in his power to disrupt his rhythm on the game. If that means landing some low blows on him, so be it.

In an interview with the Daily Mailthe Liverpool vice-captain said: “He wasn’t happy. He was giving me plenty in Spanish going down the tunnel at half-time as well. He was calling me ‘burro’. It translates as donkey but I think it’s also used in Spanish football as a general term for someone who goes around kicking people.”

“I asked him if he was all right, but he wasn’t having it. I don’t think he realised I understood his Spanish. He said: “That foul you did, that’s because I nutmegged you”. I left him to it at that point and went into the changing room. Look, I’ve only got admiration for him. He has earned the right to say what he wants.”

The nutmeg Messi was referring to happened four years earlier when Manchester City played at the Nou Camp and Milner was made to look a fool as Messi popped the ball between his legs, leaving Milner in a heap on the floor. It was a piece of skill so filthy that it had Pep Guardiola, watching from the stands, in shock.

If you were humiliated like this with the world watching, you’d probably want to get some form of revenge too.