Football

James Milner Reveals Tunnel Encounter With Messi During Defeat To Barca

James Milner Reveals Tunnel Encounter With Messi During Defeat To Barca

Lionel Messi called James Milner a 'bruro', the Spanish word for a donkey, in the tunnel at half-time during the Champions League semi-final first leg encounter between the two sides at the Camp Nou in early May.

The Argentine was angry about a Milner challenge in the first half, one which saw the Liverpool midfielder barge him over the sideline and to the ground.

"He wasn't happy," Milner told the Mail on Sunday.

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.

The nutmeg which Messi referenced had happened four years earlier while Milner was playing for Manchester City.

"The stuff he did in that game, stuff he has done his whole career, it makes him tough to play against," continued Milner.

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"If you try and stop him, you can't be scared of being made to look foolish. I've done it. I've been nutmegged by him and it has been viewed a million times. I wasn't the first and I won't be the last. He's an incredible player."

Milner added that when facing a player of Messi's ability, you have to let him know of your presence. "You just need to try to disrupt their rhythm."

Liverpool lost that first leg 3-0 but roared back 4-0 in the second to set-up this weekend's Champions League final.

Picture credit: Shutterstock.com

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