messi chelsea 2006.

What Jose Mourinho said about Lionel Messi after Chelsea v Barcelona in 2006

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For some British football fans, Chelsea’s Champions League tie against Barcelona provided their first glimpse of the player many now consider the greatest footballer of all time.

Lionel Messi, just 18 at the time, started the match in a three-pronged attack alongside Samuel Eto’o and Ronaldinho.

How would the diminutive Argentina international cope against Jose Mourinho’s Premier League champions featuring the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba on a rather poor surface at Stamford Bridge?

This was a huge test for the young Messi and football fans aware of his huge talent were excited to see how he’d fare.

Those who hadn’t seen much of him were about to discover exactly why there was so much hype surrounding this kid.

Messi was magnificent against Chelsea

Messi may not have scored during the match - which Barça won 2-1 - but he was still excellent.

The teenager dazzled throughout the 90 minutes and almost capped off his impressive performance with a goal from just outside the box.

His left-footed attempt beat Petr Cech but the ball cannoned back off the crossbar.

You can watch Messi’s highlights from that match here…

But Jose Mourinho wasn't in the mood to praise him

Messi deservedly earned praise for his mature performance but one person not in the mood to heap plaudits on the young South American was Chelsea’s manager at the time, Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese coach was incensed by what he perceived as “play-acting” by Messi to get Asier del Horno sent off shortly before half-time.

Del Horno clattered into Messi, who had just embarrassed Arjen Robben, and Barcelona’s No. 30 rolled around on the ground several times while it all kicked off around him.


Here's what Mourinho said after the match

Mourinho was convinced Messi had cheated - and he didn’t hold back with his post-match comments.

"How do you say cheating in Catalan?" he said, per BBC Sport.

"Can Messi be suspended for acting? Barcelona is a cultural city with many great theatres and this boy has learned very well. He's learned play-acting."

Chelsea's coach Portuguese Jose Mourinho


Messi then hit back at Mourinho

Messi, however, hit back at Mourinho.

"I don't do theatre," the Argentine responded. "I don't attach any importance to that because we know what he's like, that he likes talking, he likes to say things and heat up the atmosphere."

UEFA Champions League: Chelsea v Barcelona

On the incident that led to the red card, Messi added: "I got past Arjen Robben and Del Horno charged at me with bad intent. Luckily I see him coming and I jump because if not he would have hurt me much more."

Barcelona went on to lift the trophy

Barcelona and Chelsea drew the second leg 1-1, meaning Frank Rijkaard’s side advanced to the quarter-finals.

They went all the way to the final, where they saw off Arsenal in Paris, and Messi won the first of his four Champions League winners’ medals.

(L-R) Barcelona's Argentinian Messi, Bra

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