Skip to main content

Lionel Messi named the toughest opponent of his career, it’s not who you’d expect

The 36-year-old, who currently plays his club football for MLS side Inter Miami, has often been the cause of defenders’ nightmares in years gone by.

Messi has spent the vast majority of his career with Barcelona, where he won ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles and the UEFA Champions League four times.

He then moved to Paris Saint-Germain before switching to Inter Miami over the summer, where he has helped turn his new club’s fortunes around.

The seven time Ballon d’Or winner only made his debut on July 21, announcing himself with a match-winning free-kick in typical fashion.

He has since gone on to score 11 goals in 11 appearances, helping Inter Miami’s lift their first-ever trophy, the Leagues Cup. While the little magician also guided them to the final of the US Open Cup and dragged them back into contention for the MLS play-offs.

But it was whilst at Barcelona that Messi came up against his toughest ever opponent in the shape of Spanish right-back Pablo Maffeo, who was playing for Girona at the time.

Speaking back in 2020, Messi admitted (quotes via FourFourTwo): “Pablo Maffeo of Girona was the toughest. I’ve never been one who complains, but that [match] was intense!”

Messi was referencing Barcelona’s 3-0 win over the La Liga side back in 2017, when Maffeo, who was on loan at Girona from Manchester City, man-marked him the entire game.

Despite being just 20 years of age, Maffeo refused to let the occasion get the better of him and made sure Messi didn’t get on the scoresheet.

Speaking after the game, the young defender, who was subsequently let go by Manchester City and now plays for Mallorca, explained (quotes via GiveMeSport): “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.

“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.”

SPORTbible are on WhatsApp! We’ve launched a dedicated news channel to send you the latest news, features and plenty more directly on WhatsApp and all you need to do to sign up is click through to our one-way broadcast channel here HERE for ‘SPORTbible News’ to appear in the ‘Updates’ tab on your WhatsApp.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

The world’s richest player with greater wealth than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has joined a new club and is now back among the goals.

Faiq Bolkiah, 25, is the nephew of the Sultan of Brunei and reportedly has a net worth of around £20 billion. The winger was born in Los Angeles but started his footballing career in England after arriving in the country for educational purposes.

His journey within the sport started at the age of 11 after joining Southampton while also conducting trials with both Arsenal and Reading, before going on to sign a two-year youth deal with Chelsea in 2014.

The winger moved to Leicester City at the end of that contract and stayed at the Foxes for four years, before departing the King Power Stadium in 2020.

Bolkiah the moved to Portugal to play for Maritimo’s B team, before heading to Thailand at the end of 2021 to play for Chonburi in the Far East nation’s top tier.

However, Bolkiah departed Chonburi earlier this summer after two seasons as he wished the Thai side well for the future after finding the back of the net twice in 31 appearances.

But he is now back in football having signed for fellow Thai side Ratchaburi – and not only that, Bolkiah is now back on the scoresheet.

Ratchaburi took on Police Tero in the Thai top flight, with Bolkiah’s side picking up three points after a dominant 6-1 victory.