Jose Mourinho discusses his approach to stopping Lionel Messi in previously unseen video

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Any club whose next opponent is Barcelona usually prioritise one thing in the build-up to the match: stopping Lionel Messi.

It’s proven to be a near-impossible task over the years, with Messi tearing many gameplans to shreds.

The Argentinian scored his 50th goal of the calendar year in Barcelona’s 4-1 win against Alaves on Sunday, meaning he’s hit a half-century in nine out of the previous 10 years.

Managers have had years to find a way to halt him, but he always comes out on top.

One man who has faced the six-time Ballon d’Or winner on numerous occasions is Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese coach had the unenviable task of coming up against Messi many times during his spell as Real Madrid manager.

There have also been meetings during Mourinho’s time in charge of Chelsea and Inter Milan.

Mourinho was helpless to prevent Messi from scoring a brace at the Bernabeu in the Champions League in 2011.

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel M

And a previously-unseen interview has emerged of Mourinho discussing how much effort he puts in to facing the greatest player of all-time.

“I played against Messi with Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid,” Mourinho says.

“With different teams, with different approaches, with different goals.

“Sometimes to win and sometimes not to lose. Sometimes to turn the result around and other times to hold on to a result.

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“It is so rich, very rich. This man really is the top of the top.

“It is marvellous and dramatic at the same time. A drama.

“Because when I start trying to decode his game, trying to decode his action zones, trying to find out where he can hurt us…

“It’s dramatic because it’s an accumulation of situations, game spaces, zones, a range of possibilities, that is, in fact, difficult.

“It is also marvellous because it forces us to think, it forces us to study, it forces us to analyse, it forces us to decide, and it makes us better coaches.”

The interview was part of a show in which Mourinho discussed the tactics that helped him beat Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou to win the 2011/12 La Liga title.

The depth that Mourinho goes into to find a way to stop Messi is incredible.

But he seems to relish the challenge - and is even thankful for Barcelona’s No.10 for making him a better coach.

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