- Lionel Messi has named Pablo Maffeo who had three loan spells at Girona as the toughest opponent he ever faced
- The Argentine snubbed Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos despite that both shared several intense El Clasico fixtures
- Maffeo once received praises from Messi for his intense man-marking in one of their encounters in the La Liga
Barcelona legend Lionel Messi has named his toughest opponent of all-time as he ignores fierce rival and former Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, SPORTbible reports.
Messi and Ramos were featured in several intense El Clasico clashes, but he did not mention the Spaniard as one of his toughest opponents.
The Argentine stated that the toughest man-marker he ever faced was Stuttgart’s right-back Pablo Maffeo, who had three loan spells at Girona.
During his spell with Girona, Maffeo received accolades from Messi for his intense man-marking.
Messi told DAZN via GiveMeSport:
"Man-marking doesn't bother me. In truth, it hasn't happened to me that often. It doesn't bother me, but it is strange. Pablo Maffeo of Girona [was the toughest man-marker]. That was intense!
"If I'm not [playing bad], it's not a problem, it's part of the game and I don't take it personally."
Sergio Ramos lasted 16 years at Real Madrid winning the La Liga title five times as well as four Champions League trophies.
He equally snubbed Messi when asked about the toughest players he ever faced on the pitch of play when he mentioned Ronaldinho; Ramos then went on to praise Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o.
Ramos wants Messi at PSG
Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain's new signing Sergio Ramos showered praises on his long-time rival, Lionel Messi, despite several years of playing against each other.
After taking up a new challenge, the 35-year-old is now hoping he can partner with the Argentine at his new team.
Messi is currently without a club following the expiration of his contract with Barcelona earlier this month and PSG have been linked with a move for him.
How Neymar urged Ramos to join PSG
And according to SunSport, Ramos would have joined Manchester United as they seemed more serious among the three clubs looking to secure his services for free.
All these were before the intervention of PSG chiefs Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Leonardo Araújo including Neymar as they worked their magic on the Spaniard.