Alex Ferguson had a strong opinion on man-marking Lionel Messi after the 2011 CL final

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) celebrates

After Barcelona's comfortable 3-0 win over Girona on Saturday evening, people have been debating on the use of man-marking Lionel Messi.

Manchester City loanee Pablo Maffeo was tasked with doing just that against the prolific Argentinian superstar and he did so pretty well.

However, the rest of the team flourished in the additional space left on the pitch and they predictably cruised to victory over the newly-promoted side.

It is a tactic which sparks much debate, because it really can have a detrimental effect on the rest of the team.

Ander Herrera did a great job doing it on Eden Hazard for the last season but for the most part, it fails.

Even Barca manager Ernesto Valverde says that Maffeo's actions aided the rest of his players on Saturday.


"The man-marking was clear and we had to find the place where to put Messi to move that player [Maffeo] and to get the most out of the situation," he said in his postgame news conference, per ESPN.

"You have to take advantage of the situation. We tried to get the better of them by playing in the space and taking advantage of Leo's movement.


"I think Messi was fine. It's true that when you're man-marked it can be uncomfortable, but it also has advantages, not for him, but for the team. I think he was relaxed about it all.

Valverde's theory is shared by many, none more so than legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who discussed the idea of doing so after his team lost to the Blaugrana in the 2011 Champions League final.


Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Final

When asked if he considered man-marking Messi, the Scotsman said, per ESPN: ''We tried to play the way we normally play. It's alien to us to man-mark players, It wasn't good enough on the night. We understand that and we acknowledge it and we can step forward from here."

Well said Fergie. It was a bold move by Girona but one that they shouldn't really utilise again.

Once you sacrifice one of your players to virtually abandon any hopes of actually playing football, moving forward is ultimately a difficult task, particularly against Barcelona.

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