Stopping Lionel Messi on a football pitch is almost an impossible task.
The little genius has regularly humiliated the best defenders in the world throughout his career with Barcelona and Argentina.
Messi doesn’t even need garish skill moves to get the better of opposing players. Instead, he often performs the act with a lightning-quick body feint.
One second a defender thinks the 33-year-old is taking the ball to the left, the next he’s slipped past them on their right side.
It is relatively simple, yet when the move is performed to Messi’s standard, it is also absolutely devastating.
Just ask the Barcelona star’s countryman, Fazio…
A number of years ago, Messi made the cliche ‘breaking a player’s ankles’ reality, with one of his trademark body feints leaving Fazio in a crumpled heap on the turf.
Check out footage of the incident for yourself below:
Messi’s body feints really are deadly…
As soon as the Barcelona man realised the damage his low-centre of gravity had done, he sportingly kicked the ball out of play.
Stopping Messi is something no defender in history has really mastered. However, there are ways to limit his influence, something former Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong previously touched on.
“The first 10 minutes is all about letting him know where he stands, getting the right challenges in, letting him know it’s going to be a difficult game,” the Dutchman told Bleacher Report.
“Next it’s about reading his body language and anticipating his movements. And anticipation of his thought process, because he’s always looking to make that one-two in that area just outside the box.
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“Then it’s dependent on circumstances. If he’s far from the goal, then you just want to keep him in front of you, because if he’s not, there’s going to be a big hole in front of your defence. He always tries to look left, always goes over the left leg.
“He feigns right and goes left just so quickly, so instead of man-marking tightly you have to wait for him to make the first move. You can’t just go shoulder to shoulder with him, because if he turns you, he’s gone.
“If you get him, you get him. If not, well, you’re in trouble.”
Playing against Messi sounds like a right laugh…