Champions League Football

Paul Scholes has revealed how Man United easily stopped Leo Messi in 2008

Paul Scholes will be remembered as one of the greatest players to have ever played for Manchester United, after spending 19 years at the club.

Paul Scholes and Lionel Messi

And if you ask him who is the greatest player he ever shared a pitch with, he’s response won’t surprise you.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, always, having had the chance to face him numeros of times during his playing days.

“I think about the great players with whom I have shared a pitch: Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, [Andrea] Pirlo, Xavi [and] Cristiano Ronaldo.

“And the greatest of them all is Messi.”

And the former England international has admitted that he tried to avoid the five time Ballon d’Or winner on the pitch, as he didn’t want to be humiliated.

“You think you have an eye on him and then – blink – he has gone, only to reappear somewhere else in space, with the ball,” he added.

“When you try to face up to him and make a tackle you know what it is he is going to do with the ball. The problem is staying with him.”

But in 2008, the Red Devils nuetralised Messi in the Champions League, securing themselves the final, after the first leg at the Camp Nou ended 0-0.

And United managed to stop the Argentinian thanks to a “simple” plan they followed.

Manchester United v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final

“I have never seen a United performance with such a high level of concentration as when we beat Barcelona at Old Trafford,” he wrote two years ago for the Independent.”For every second of that game, and the first leg at the Nou Camp, we had to be aware of our positioning, of the dangers they posed and our shape as a team as a whole.

“We spent the whole week working on it with Sir Alex and the staff. We knew exactly what we should be doing at all times. Then we had to do it over two games.

“There was never any specific plan to deal with Messi, simply that whoever was nearest picked him up. Rio Ferdinand had two great games against him in 2008.” //Actuantes//

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