Pablo Maffeo will remember the night he was asked to man-mark Lionel Messi for the rest of his life.
The Girona defender, on loan from Manchester City, was given the almighty task of stopping the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in Saturday’s match against Barcelona.
And while Maffeo managed to keep Messi off the scoresheet, his teammates were unable to prevent Barcelona cruising to a 3-0 win, Ernesto Valverde’s side greatly helped by two own goals.
Maffeo’s matchup against Messi has received plenty of attention in recent days, with the 20-year-old revealing that the Barça star even asked him about Man City.
"Messi told me: 'I've got you here for the whole day' and I said: ’You're the best in the world, I'm not going to leave you,’” the Spaniard said, per Marca.
"He asked me how old I was, if I had been assigned by Manchester City and what it was like there. He said the marking was not pleasant.
"Messi and I were together the whole match. He has asked me a couple of things. He is a good person."
Watch: Messi v Maffeo
Messi complained to Maffeo
Their conversations have been a hot topic since their encounter and Spanish channel El Dia Despues have attempted to lip read what Maffeo said to his teammates about his experience with Messi after he was subbed off in the 78th minute.
Apparently, Messi expressed his frustration at Maffeo’s expert man-marking job.
"Do you know what he said to me?" Maffeo recalled, per Marca.
“'Playing like that is a bit cr*p.’”
Messi spoke to Valverde about Maffeo
Messi had scored 11 goals in his five matches heading into the Girona game, so it’s hardly surprising he was annoyed at being held by a 20-year-old.
Indeed, the 30-year-old ended up speaking to Valverde about how to deal with Maffeo.
The Barça boss said, per Sports Illustrated: “Man-marking Messi? It can happen, but it’s also true that this makes for moments when he can drag his marker out of position and take advantage."
"Messi came to me in the 10th minute to ask how I wanted him to deal with his marker. Messi did well, he was calm and helped the team."
A blueprint for stopping Messi? Probably not. Many have tried to mark the magician out of match and been left completely embarrassed.