Manchester City star Yaya Toure has confessed that he was terrified that Barcelona’s Lionel Messi would nutmeg him in front of his watching family during last season’s Champions League clash between the two sides.
Speaking in an interview with BT Sport, Toure spoke about his time at Barcelona and what it was like to play with someone he considers to be the best footballer in the world.
And with quotes attributed to Spanish publication Sport, the Ivorian gushed when asked about Messi when quizzed by former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.
“The best player I have played with is Messi. I’ll tell you something, I once heard Patrice Evra and Carlos Tevez say that Cristiano Ronaldo works really hard, but Messi is different. Messi is a genius. It’s natural. In training he’s simple. He’s very good with the ball. He’s always with the ball, but he never does anything crazy. He’s thinking about the game.
“One thing is what he does in training. In training you think you’re going to lose, but after in the game… it’s different. You can see the mentality of these guys. They are totally dedicated to the game. In training, they work, learn and try to maintain their form, but for them the game is everything.”
But Toure saved the revelation for last by confessing he’d contacted Messi before the pair met on the pitch to ask him a favour.
“Also Messi [was my toughest opponent]. We played against Barça in the last Champions League. In fact, we’ve played against them in the last two seasons. Last year in the dressing room he jokingly said he will nutmeg me. I saw him nutmeg two of my team-mates and thought he’d do it to me. Whenever he came near me I screamed inside ‘please not me, don’t nutmeg me’. I was afraid he’d embarrass me in front of my family.”