Pernía: "I got home and my wife asked: What's Messi done to you?"

The ex-Atlético player recalls being run ragged by Messi at the Calderón. "In the blink of an eye, he was past me. I've no idea how it happened!"

There are some moments in a player's career that they'd rather forget. Leo Messi has caused many defenders to suffer sleepless nights - including former Atlético de Madrid player Mariano Pernía. Pernía, who hung up his boots in 2011, recalled being run ragged by Messi at the Calderón and still being in a state of shock when asked by his wife what had happened.

“Yes, I faced Messi - unfortunately… The worst of all was that, we were losing 3-1 and he received the ball near the halfway line. And he just stopped, completely stopped, with the ball at his feet. I was about seven or eight yards away and thought to myself: ‘Ah his bottle’s gone!’ So, I approached him… I don’t know what he did next… Anyway, after the game, when I got back home, my wife asked me: ‘What did he do to you?’ and I said: ‘How do I know!? I’ve no idea! What did you see on the TV?’. Everyone says Messi always cuts inside when he starts his runs, so I went to block him and in the blink of an eye, he darted past me on the other side. I don’t know how he did it, I’ve no idea. It was like he pulled off all of these trick moves all in one. He went past me, then two others and I don’t know how but he struck the bar – thankfully!”


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