Former Atletico Madrid full-back Kieran Trippier, who came up against former Barcelona forward Lionel Messi regularly during his time there has opened up on the Herculean task. Almost all of the defenders have had horrible experiences of trying top stop the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, the recent of which can be explained by Croatia’s Josko Gvardiol, who was having a brilliant World Cup campaign before coming up against the Argentine in the semifinals.
Kieran Trippier neither too has not got any good memories of trying to defend against Lionel Messi. The ‘La Pulga’ who recently led Argentina to glory by lifting the World Cup in Qatar is rather hitting the form of his life at 35. However, as much ecstasy as it was to see him lift the coveted World Cup trophy, it was paining as well to see bid farewell to his boyhood club Barcelona in the summer of 2021.
‘Just pray’ – Trippier on Simeone conversation about stopping Lionel Messi
While Trippier reveals that the only way his former coach Simeone thought of stopping his fellow countryman Lionel Messi was to ‘pray’, the Atletico boss is not the only one who too help of such devout ways. It is indeed advisable to ‘just pray’ when you are up against the GOAT. Ask 6′ 1″ Gvardiol, who was turned and twisted by the 5′ 7″ Leo Messi to serve a perfect ball in the platter for Julian Alvarez to score a third goal to kill the semifinal between the two nations.
Likewise, the Barca all-time topscorer wrecked havoc even on the darkest days of the club in La Liga, and Trippier was just another victim of his wizardry. Moreover, the England international had to come up against Messi during his time at Atletico as well as Tottenham. Trippier and Messi clashed against each other a total of 5 times, wherein the Argentine enjoyed 2 wins and a draw, also netting 4 goals.
While at Atletico, Trippier too triumphed over Messi and his Barcelona twice during their 4 encounters, but of course, it didn’t come without suffering. And nobody knows more than Diego Simeone what its like to suffer against the 35-year-old, who racked up 18 goals in 31 games against his Atletico. Speaking to GOAL about how Simeone planned to stop Lionel Messi, Trippier said:
“You can’t [defend against Messi] to be fair. It’s funny because obviously Simeone was the manager [and] they are both Argentinian. Even he would say before the meetings, just basically ‘pray.’ You just can’t do anything. You can’t organise or set up to stop him because he’s that unique.”
However, Trippier and Simeone still managed to win the La Liga during the 20/21 season against Messi’s Barcelona with a staggering 7 points. Messi, on the other hand, left Barcelona at the end of that season after the club failed to register him due to their reeling financial situation, which even today hasn’t improved much. Trippier to walked through the exit door at Atletico in the winter market of 2022, making a return to England joining Newcastle United.