Andy Robertson has recalled his experience of playing against Lionel Messi following the Barcelona’s star’s stunning individual performance in the first leg of their semi-final meeting with Liverpool last season.
Robertson was in direct opposition to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner during the last four meeting between the two sides, with Messi starring during the first leg at the Camp Nou, scoring twice to give the Spanish side a three-goal advantage ahead of the return fixture on Merseyside.
Liverpool later completed an improbable comeback on their way to winning the Champions League under Jurgen Klopp, but Robertson has recalled his memories of facing off against a player regarded by many as the best of all-time.
“In the Nou Camp I thought I’d dealt with him as well as I could have, but he walks off with two goals, it’s 3-0, and all everyone’s talking about is Messi!” Robertson told That Peter Crouch Podcast.
“When you test yourself against the best you want to try and come out well, and he is the best player that’s ever played in my opinion. Being directly up against him was as tough as it is.
“When you come up against him you always think ‘it’s ok, we’re professional footballers, we can [handle this].’
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“But I think he knocked it by two of our midfielders early on in the Nou Camp, and he was running directly at me and I was like ‘oh right, this guy’s serious, f***ing hell! He’s coming at me now!
“The stuff he does with his feet are just frightening, you need to guess at times to defend against him.
“I remember he was at the byline at one point, and I thought ‘he’s just playing for a throw-in here, no problem…’
“But he’s like dinked it inside somehow, and off he went inside of the park, switched the play, and I was like… no other human can do that!”
Robertson was also involved in an incident with Messi during the second leg on a famous night at Anfield, tangling with the Argentine before ruffling the 32-year-old’s hair, a situation the Scotland captain admits he regrets.
“Me and Fabinho were both tracking him back, and we both ended up on the ground, and… yeah I just ruffled his hair a wee bit,” he added.
“He wasn’t too happy, but it’s something I wouldn’t do again that’s for sure!
“It’s a bit disrespectful to the best player that’s ever played this game.
“He was on the ground and I was on the ground, and I do regret it. But it’s something that everyone relates to me now, which isn’t the best!”
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