CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Messi calls Milner a 'burro' but Liverpool man understands

Messi calls Milner a 'burro' but Liverpool man understands

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At half-time during the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, Barcelona's Lionel Messi shared his feelings about some rough treatment.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi called Liverpool's James Milner a 'donkey' during the Champions League first leg at the Camp Nou, a game the Catalan side won 3-0 despite being under pressure for much of it. The two had previously met when Milner was at Man City, and where a certain nutmeg took some of the attention.

'Oafish' Milner, understands Spanish

"He wasn’t happy," the Reds midfielder explained in an interview for the Mail on Sunday. "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."

Enjoying life | James Milner of Liverpool is interviewed by the national media during the Liverpool warm weather training camp on May 22.

Enjoying life | James Milner of Liverpool is interviewed by the national media during the Liverpool warm weather training camp on May 22.

And Milner is right in this regard, as the literal term 'donkey' is used in football parlance more as 'oaf' or 'brute' and can certainly be heard coming from the mouths of those players that feel they are getting some rough treatment on the pitch.

"I asked him if he was all right," the Englishman continued, "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’. I left him to it at that point and went into the changing room.

As the Liverpool man looks forward to a Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur - following that incredible Anfield comeback in the second leg - he also shared how much he admired the Argentine.

"Look, I’ve only got admiration for him. He has earned the right to say what he wants. The stuff he did in that game, stuff he has done his whole career, it makes him tough to play against.

"If you try and stop him, you can’t be scared of being made to look foolish. I’ve done it. I’ve been nutmegged by him and it has been viewed a million times. I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. 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."

The Champions League final takes place at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on 1 June. You can read the whole interview by Oliver Holt here.