A Premier League star has opened up about his experience playing against Lionel Messi, revealing that it demoralized him.
Messi does not have the most intimidating look inside the pitch, with his height often being mentioned as one of his few weaknesses. However, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has proven that he doesn’t need to be large and mean in order to strike fear in his opponents.
This is exactly what Leicester star Ben Chilwell realized after a clash with Messi a few years ago. While speaking to MOTDxyz (via Leicester Shire Live) recently, Chilwell admitted that playing against Messi was a bit depressing.
It was 2016 when Leicester City took on Barcelona during a pre-season International Champions Cup match. The Catalan club got the better of the Foxes and ended the game with a 4-2 victory. However, according to Chilwell, facing Messi inside the pitch during a friendly game was even more dejecting than the defeat itself.
“[Messi] didn’t actually seem like he was interested at all to be there. The worst thing about it was you still couldn’t get near him when he had the ball! He was just so sharp, so good, and it was kind of [demoralizing] to play against someone who wasn’t trying in the slightest, but you still couldn’t get anywhere near him,” Chilwell revealed.
The 23-year-old went on to hail Messi as “100%” the better player over Cristiano Ronaldo. Chilwell claimed that Messi vs. Ronaldo shouldn’t even be a debate as the Argentine is by far the best player on the planet.
Chilwell is one of the players who have had unforgettable moments with Messi. In fact, in another friendly against Barcelona, the Englishman also discovered how competitive “Leo” really is.
Still fresh in his head, Chilwell recalled how he personally witnessed Messi respond to being “jeered” due to a turnover during a friendly. The Barcelona captain was taunted by the home crowd after a turnover, and what happened next was something incredible as Messi retaliated with style.
“I played [Messi] in pre-season and he was just unbelievable. He knocked one pass out of play, got jeered, so the next time he got the ball he nutmegged Marc Albrighton and got an assist!” Chilwell recalled.
Throughout his stellar career, Messi needed no introduction in terms of love for the sport. However, it is quite fascinating to know that he carries the same amount of passion even during friendly games.
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