Lionel Messi’s angry message for James Milner in Barcelona – and why Liverpool midfielder isn’t bothered.
James Milner has revealed the angry message he received from Lionel Messi in Barcelona – and why Liverpool’s title failure could prove the difference in the Champions League final.
Jurgen Klopp’s side won through to the showpiece with a remarkable 4-0 win over Barcelona at Anfield in their semi-final second leg having lost the first leg 3-0 in Camp Nou six days earlier.
Messi scored twice in the first leg and was involved in an altercation with Milner during the first half when, having been nudged by Andy Robertson, the Barcelona man was then shoulder-barged to the floor by the Liverpool midfielder.
The Argentine great tumbled over several times before aiming a volley of abuse at Milner which continued when the players went in at the break.
“He wasn’t happy,” said Milner, speaking to the Mail. “He was giving me plenty in Spanish going down the tunnel at half-time as well. He was calling me ‘burro’.
“It translates as donkey but I think it’s also used in Spanish football as a general term for someone who goes around kicking people.
“I asked him if he was all right, but he wasn’t having it. I don’t think he realised I understood his Spanish.
“He said: ‘That foul you did, that’s because I nutmegged you’. I left him to it at that point and went into the changing room. Look, I’ve only got admiration for him. He has earned the right to say what he wants.”
Messi was referring to an incident during Milner’s Manchester City days when he famously humiliated his opponent at Camp Nou in the Champions League.
“I’ve been nutmegged by him and it has been viewed a million times,” added Milner. “I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. He’s an incredible player.
“But with players like that, you have to let them know you’re there.
“You don’t want to hurt him but it’s a physical game and, if he’s running the game, you try and knock him out of his stride. It’s part of the game, the mental side.”