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Diego Simeone used to tell his players the only way to stop Lionel Messi was to 'pray'

Diego Simeone used to tell his players the only way to stop Lionel Messi was to 'pray'

The Atletico Madrid manager told his players that the only way to stop the Argentinian magician while he was at Barcelona was to pray.

Newcastle and England full-back Kieran Trippier has just revealed how Simeone would prepare the team to mark Lionel Messi during his stint at Atletico Madrid.

Trippier spent 3 years of his career in the Spanish capital, where he faced off against Barcelona numerous times.

The Atletico manager only had one word for his players before facing off against Messi and co: “pray.”

The 32-year-old highlighted just how difficult it was to play against the Argentinian magician, saying this when asked how they dealt with him: “You can't to be fair," he told Goal during his appearance on Kit Collector.

"It's funny because obviously Simeone was the manager, they are both Argentinian. Even he would say before the meetings, just basically 'pray.' You just can't do anything. You can't organise or set up to stop him because he's that unique."

During Trippier’s time in Spain, he managed to win the La Liga title in the 2020/21 season as part of an Atletico Madrid team that featured the likes of Luis Suarez and Joao Felix.

Messi still managed to score 30 league goals that season, taking home the Pichichi trophy, given to La Liga’s top scorer. No-one has won the Pichichi more times than the Argentinian genius, as he has won it 8 times.

Trippier attempts to tackle Messi in 2021. (Image

Following the 2020/21 season, Messi left Barcelona for the might of PSG due to financial issues at his boyhood club and Trippier made a move to Newcastle United in January 2022, who had just been bought by Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

Trippier has not faced Messi since the 20/21 season, but with Newcastle in the top 4 race, it would be no surprise to see him face off against the World Cup winning PSG attacker in next season’s Champions League.

Simeone and Trippier during a game. (Image

When asked if his side can reach the Champions League, Trippier replied: "We know what we can achieve if we stick together.

"We’ve got our ambitions internally. Our mindset is just to win. The games are coming thick and fast, as the gaffer says about every game: just empty the tank."

It may then be time for the Newcastle right-back to tell his Newcastle side to pray, as Messi showed at last month’s World Cup that he has still got it at the age of 35.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Kieran Trippier, Lionel Messi, Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone