‘I’ve never been one who complains, but that [match] was intense!’
Ask 99 per cent of players who have played against Lionel Messi ‘who is the toughest player you’ve ever come up against?’ and their answer will be Messi however, the World Cup winner once revealed who was his most difficult match up.
Messi has reignited his form since leaving Paris Saint-Germain to join Inter Miami in the summer and has scored 11 goals in as many games and has also guided the MLS side to their first-ever piece of silverware after they lifted the Leagues Cup.
His impact has also helped the David Beckham co-owned franchise reach the final of the US Open cup – where they will face Houston Dynamo – and brought them back in contention to qualify for the play-offs.
While Messi has won pretty much everything there is to offer in football, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner revealed back in 2020, while still at Barcelona, who his toughest opponent of all time was.
Via FourFourTwo, he said: “Pablo Maffeo of Girona was the toughest. I’ve never been one who complains, but that [match] was intense!”
The game that made Messi decide Maffeo was his biggest test was during a meeting between Barcelona and Mallorca in 2017 in which the former Manchester City made it his mission to mark the then-Barça star.
Maffeo himself revealed the interaction the two had while battling it out on the pitch. As per GiveMeSport, he said: “Messi told me: ‘I’ve got you here for the whole day’ and I said: ’You’re the best in the world, I’m not going to leave you.
“He asked me how old I was, if I had been assigned by Manchester City and what it was like there. He said the marking was not pleasant.
“Messi and I were together the whole match. He has asked me a couple of things. He is a good person.”
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