Maffeo on Messi
Pablo Maffeo made headlines over the weekend after he took on Lionel Messi. The Manchester City starlet, on loan at La Liga side Girona, was on the receiving end of a 3-0 beatdown from Barcelona on Saturday.
However, he can take pride in the manner that he shackled Messi. Defenders with much more experience than him have been torn to shreds by the forward, deemed by many to be the greatest player of all time.
Maffeo kept him at bay with a man-marking assignment that he took very literally. Nicknamed the Flea in his youth, Messi would have been feeling itchy himself because of how Maffeo was crawling all over him.
The Spanish right-back spoke after the game about why he didn’t ask Messi for his shirt. The Express quotes him saying: “A friend of mine wanted Ter Stegen’s shirt so I asked the goalkeeper. Messi is the best in the world, but friends come first.” Maffeo stuck closely to Messi but it appears he sticks by his friends even better.
Maffeo’s performance didn’t go unnoticed at his parent club. Guardiola praised the 20-year-old: “I’ve always said that Premier League second teams don’t compete very well at that level. They need this kind of competition.
“If they can’t play in the first team, they need to go to other leagues like the Netherlands and Spain and be in those big games playing against players like Messi. That is the best way to improve.
“Young players like Pablo Maffeo and others must play and the sooner they reach this level of competition the better for them to take a step forward and become better players.”
Pablo Maffeo would be wise to get used to loan spells. With the way City’s first team is playing, it will be extremely hard to break into. They’re top of the Premier League having scored 21 goals in six games.