Livid Leo: Lionel Messi branded James Milner a 'donkey' during Champions League defeat
Liverpool’s James Milner revealed that he found himself on the receiving end of an irate Lionel Messi during the Reds’ incredible 4-0 win over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, Liverpool staged an incredible second-leg comeback at Anfield to defeat Barca 4-0 and book their place in the final in Madrid on June 1.
Speaking to English newspaper The Mail on Sunday, Milner revealed that Messi didn’t appreciate some of the physical attention he was receiving during the encounter as the match started to slip away from him.
“He wasn’t happy,” Milner stated.
“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.”
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Despite finding himself on the receiving end of Messi’s ire, Milner said he didn’t harbor any ill will towards the Argentinian superstar.
“Look, I’ve only got admiration for him. He has earned the right to say what he wants,” he explained.
“The stuff he did in that game, stuff he has done his whole career, it makes him tough to play against.
“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.
“But with players like that, you have to let them know you’re there and not let them have everything their own way. You just need to try to disrupt their rhythm.
“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.”