How to stop Lionel Messi? The question which is nearing two decades in age, and has bamboozled many a manager and defender, with only fleeting responses achieving success.
No club is more aware of just how easily they can scythe apart their defence than Real Madrid, who were frequent victims of his, conceding 26 times in 45 Clasico clashes. After Fede Valverde admitted that he has never known how to stop Messi ahead of Uruguay’s clash with Argentina this week, former Real Madrid star Marcelo was asked what their approach was during his time.
“Messi didn’t talk during the games and I tried not to talk to him because he was quiet,” Marcelo told Charla podcast, as per Sport.
“We always said that we should leave it like that, because if you decided to obstruct him, you would provoke him and then he would get angry, and if he was angry, he became more and more difficult to handle.”
There is previous to that his words, and early on Messi’s career there were Clasico matches where Real Madrid’s rough treatment did little to cow the Argentine, rather inspiring him to greater heights. Sergio Ramos and Messi in particular used to go to battle frequently, in one of the iconic battles from Spanish football history.