Lionel Messi is usually a cool customer but he has been known to lose his head at times on the football pitch.
One rare instance of when he’s confronted an opponent came in Barcelona’s Champions League semi-final first leg clash with Liverpool in 2019.
Messi had a running battle with Liverpool midfielder, James Milner, during the game.
Milner put in a number of strong challenges on the Argentine legend.
On one occasion, Milner was absolutely no where near the ball as he sent Messi crashing to the turf.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, understandably, was not happy. He could be seen having words with his opponent as he sat on the floor. Watch the moment below:
— EssinemLFC (@essinem7) August 12, 2021
Barcelona went on to win the game 3-0, with Messi scoring twice. Liverpool famously completed the comeback at Anfield, winning 4-0, to progress to the final.
Shortly before the final in Madrid, Milner opened up about his battles with Messi.
And the Liverpool midfielder revealed that Messi was fuming as a result of his challenges.
“He wasn’t happy,” Milner told the Mail. “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’.”
Messi was referring to his nutmeg on Milner during Man City vs Barcelona in 2015.
It’s six years since Lionel Messi left James Milner on the floor with a nutmeg and even Pep Guardiola was impressed. pic.twitter.com/5zuEjkxBCz
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But, despite their falling out, Milner could only speak very highly of the PSG star.
“I’ve only got admiration for him. He has earned the right to say what he wants,” Milner added.
“He’s an incredible player. But with players like that, you have to let them know you’re there and not let them have everything their own way.
“You just need to try to disrupt their rhythm. You don’t want to hurt him but it’s a physical game and, if he’s running the game, you try and knock him out of his stride. It’s part of the game, the mental side.”
Hopefully we get to see them do battle on the pitch one last time before they both hang up their boots.