Lionel Messi has been on the receiving end of some tough tackles but one shocker of a challenge stands above the rest.
Three games into the 2010/11, Messi could’ve had his career ended up before it had really begun when Atletico Madrid defender Tomas Ujfalusi lunged in on the Argentine at the Vicente Calderon.
Late on in Barcelona’s 2-1 win, Messi was in agony on the turf after the former Czech Republic international caught him on the ankle in horrific fashion.
Messi, who had opened the scoring, left the pitch on the stretcher with his ankle heavily swollen from the brutal tackle.
How Messi’s career didn’t end after this tackle, I will never understand. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/z1w7lkXiG9
— vinar ✪ (@vinarr__) June 4, 2021
Ujfalusi was rightly shown red for the second time in his career and ended up being absolutely panned in the Spanish press.
Graham Hunter of ESPN called him “a street thug”, while Mundo Deportivo invented the term” MESSICIDE'” in reference to the near-assault
The former Hamburg centre-back did apologise but couldn’t help but state his feeling that he got a touch on the ball beforehand.
“I wanted to apologise,” he said, as perGoal.
“It was not my intention to hurt. I wanted to play the ball and had the misfortune to hit Leo when I came down on his leg. Yes, it was scary to see his ankle bent, but it was not my intention to hurt.
“Yesterday it was not possible, but today I have sent a message from Aguero to apologise.
“In the picture it becomes clear that I am touching the ball before injuring his ankle. There were harder tackles than mine.”
Pep Guardiola called for extra protection for players from referees and was understandably sweating over Messi’s fitness as he hobbled onto the team bus on crutches.
Incredibly, however, Messi made a miraculous recovery and just 10 days later he started against Rubin Kazan in the Champions League, managing 60 minutes.
Then, in the reverse fixture at the Nou Camp in February, a 23-year-old Messi bagged a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Atleti – finishing that glorious treble-winning season with 53 goals in 55 games.