– Brazil defender Felipe Luis says Lionel Messi is the best player he has seen play
– The 35-year-old spent eight years with Atletico Madrid and he faced the Argentine a number of times
– Luis added that marking the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is difficult but he devised his way to stop the forward
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Former Chelsea and Atletico Madrid defender Felipe Luis has admitted that Lionel Messi is the best player he has ever played against.
The Brazilian met a number of times with his South American in the Spanish League and the left-back says marking the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is difficult because he improvises his moves.
Luis said no defender can plan his initial move against Messi as no one can predict his move before he makes them.
However, the 35-year-old revealed that after studying the Argentine football superstar, he made sure he forces him to a favourable position for him to defend against him.
The current Flamengo player spent eight years with Los Colchoneros winning four major titles including one La Liga and a Europa League glory. He was quoted by Daily Mail saying:
“One day I would like to ask Messi what it felt like playing against me. I approached it as the most important game in my life against him because he was the best player I have seen play.
“Messi had a thing – and I studied him a lot – that was very important. He improvises. He doesn’t have the dribble in his mind before the ball gets to him.
“He watches the defender’s movement and depending on your body position, he goes one way or the other. So first I tried not to let him receive the ball.
“When he received with his back to me, there would be a hard challenge and because he’s so strong, so resistant because he doesn’t go down looking for fouls, the foul is not given away.
“If he receives the ball facing you, one on one, it’s impossible because of that improvisation he has. You can’t plan for it, because he is watching you and can change. I would fake to make one challenge, one side, to try to make him go the other way, where I really wanted him.
“In fact, Barcelona called me [towards the end of his time at Atletico] so I think he must have liked my football. I’d like to know his opinion one day. My best games were always against Messi, for sure.”
Legit.ng earlier reported that ex-Atletico Madrid defender Felipe Luis still doesn’t understand why Jose Mourinho sold Mohamed Salah in spite of his incredible skills in training.
The Egyptian forward joined Chelsea from Basel in 2014 but only made 19 appearances, scoring two goals and four assists during his two-year reign at Stamford Bridge.
Before he was eventually offloaded in 2016, the 28-year-old had already been sent to Fiorentina and Roma on loan and by the end of the 2015-16 season, Roma signed him permanently.
Oluwatomiwa is a sports editor with Legit.ng. He has over eight years of field and office experience in the media industry. He graduated from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in 2014 with HND in Mass Communication. Connect with him on Twitter @TomiwaBabalola.