Atletico Madrid Filipe Luis reveals how he used to defend against Leo Messi

Atletico Madrid Filipe Luis reveals how he used to defend against Leo

Former Atletico Madrid defender says he used to prepare for games against Messi like it was the most important match of his life.

Luis says that Leo perfectly reads a defender’s movement before deciding how to dribble past them.

The Brazilian said he used to try faking challenges to make Messi go the way he’d wanted him to.

Speaking about how he used to defend against Lionel Messi, former Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis said: “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.

“There were games where I went too far in terms of aggression. I was sent off. But he never had a go at me for it; he never said anything. I think he liked it, I think he liked that kind of challenge.

“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.”

Luis faced off against Messi many times during his years at Atletico Madrid and normally Leo would get the better off him. Barca were rumoured to be willing to sign the Brazilian back in 2019, which indicates that Leo might’ve appreciated his performances enough to want to team up with him at some point in his career.

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