Messi is regarded as the magician with the ball. He is undoubtedly, one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game. The ball sticks like a magnet to his feet and obeys his command. The opponents are irrelevant, when Messi is in his groove. He would go past 4-5 defenders, as if he is playing with some kids. Oppositions pray that Messi has an off day against them because only an off day for Messi can help the opponents to keep him calm. Either that or the players employ some insane tactics to stop him.
Here are 5 players who have managed to stop Messi:-
#1 Bastian Schweinsteiger:-
Messi has always had the burden of underperforming, when playing for the country. His stats for the country are an evidence of that. It was one of those rare nights, when Messi was curtailed brilliantly by Schweinsteiger. The mid-fielder was given the job of marking Messi. Bastian performed his job exceedingly well and didn’t let Messi an inch of space to affect the game. Messi tried all sorts of tactics, but the German team didn’t allow Argentine to get away with anything. At times, Messi went deeper to get the ball, but his shadow never let him breathe easy. German defeated Argentine 4-0 and knocked them out of the World Cup. Maradona gave his resignation from the post of Argentina’s coach after this match.
#2 Jose Bosingwa:-
Jose Bosingwa may not be one, whose name pops in the history of great defenders of Chelsea. However, he managed to become one, on the night of a big away game against Barcelona, in the 2009 Champions League season. The fact that no other team had managed to stop the Catalonians to score until that game makes it an even bigger achievement. Jose was given the job of marking Messi. He didn’t allow Messi to have a good look at the goal even once and followed Messi like his shadow. In the whole match Messi didn’t have one proper shot at the goal. This goes to show the efficiency by which Jose had done his job.
#3 Adrien Rabiot:-
This incident is from the recent humiliating defeat of Barcelona against PSG. Barcelona had their full team playing the match, along with the feared MSN at the top. It was touted as an easy win for the Catalonians, given the form they were in. But, it was not Barca’s day. PSG were playing high pressing game and didn’t allow Barcelona to take any possession. Messi tried to influence the game by going deep, but all he could find was Adrien Rabiot. Rabiot stuck to Messi like glue and didn’t allow him to make any decisive pass. It was unarguably, one of the worst games of Messi and Barcelona.
#4 Diego Godin:-
Probably the only defender, no player would like to go up against. He has been a menace to strikers in the last few years. He has also managed to stop Ronaldo several which is a rare feat. Messi has got the better off him on several occasions, but the Uruguayan did not let Messi change the proceeding of the match, in the 2016 Champions League match. The way Godin organised the defence and coordinated with the players was amazing. He didn’t allow Messi to have even one shot at the goal in the whole game. What made it a master-class was the fact that, Messi didn’t touch the ball once in Atletico’s box. Godin certainly outplayed Messi on this occasion.
#5 Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti:-
It was one of those heated affairs between Jose’s Milan and Pep’s Barcelona. Milan were left with 10 players on the pitch, after Motta was sent off in the 28th minute. The victory seemed easy for Pep against a 10-men team. However, Cambiasso and Zanetti had planned something else. They ganged upon Messi and didn’t let him score. The team with 10-men that could have been penetrated easily became humongous task for Messi to go past. It was one of the best defensive performances of the era. It was a disappointing match for Messi and Jose got his revenge of Pep by beating him 1-0.