Lionel Messi, who did not score or provide an assist for the first time in a home Champions League group game since 2012, struck the bar and had the best of Barca’s six shots on target.

Lionel Messi claims he’s not bothered by the man marking he is regularly subject to while playing for Barcelona and has picked Girona’s Pablo Maffeo as his most complicated marker.

The 32-year-old’s skills and ability to decide a match have made him a prime target for opposition defenders to lock in on over the past 15 years.

While debilitating for some players, Messi has learned how to shine despite the attention but admits it is strange to have a player constantly following him around the pitch.

“Man marking doesn’t bother me, but you already know that there will be bad matches, it is strange to always have someone around,” Messi told La Liga on DAZN.

“In truth it hasn’t happened to me so often. It doesn’t bother me, but it is strange.”

Though he’s often locked horns with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, Messi surprisingly picked a little known Spanish right-back as the most complicated marker he’s faced.

“Pablo Maffeo of Girona,” Messi said. “That was too exaggerated.”


Maffeo, 22, is now into his third loan stint with Girona but has previously been on the books of Manchester City and is currently owned by Stuttgart.

Aside from aggressive man marking, Messi is also no stranger to being fouled but once again isn’t too concerned about it, particularly if he’s still able to play well despite it.

“I’ve never been one who complains. I think physical contact and kicks are part of the game,” he said.

“I get more annoyed when I played bad and I get a little more angry. But if I’m not, it’s not a problem, it’s part of the game and I don’t take it badly.”

While the Barcelona star looks to continue to shine for the Catalans on the pitch, the club has had a complicated week off it with manager Ernesto Valverde sacked on Tuesday and Quique Setien brought in as his replacement.

Barca had made a poor start to 2020, drawing with Espanyol in the league before losing to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana semi-finals.

Setien’s first game in charge will see the Catalans host Granada on Sunday with Barcelona currently top of La Liga on goal difference.

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