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The player Lionel Messi said was his toughest opponent now set to change allegiance to play for Argentina

Josh Lawless

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| Last updated 

The player Lionel Messi said was his toughest opponent now set to change allegiance to play for Argentina

Lionel Messi is set to be reunited with the player he deems to be his toughest ever opponent.

Eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi has come up against some of the best players ever to play the game.

But Messi revealed his most difficult opponent is the relatively unknown Pablo Maffeo.

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The Spanish right-back came through the youth ranks at Manchester City but only made one appearance.

He has had three different loan spells with Girona and it was there that he gave Messi a serious battle.

Barcelona ran out 3-0 winners at the Estadi Montilivi in September 2017 but Maffeo man-marked Messi in a sensational performance that the Argentine legend took notice of.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty
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"Man-marking doesn't bother me - you know that there will be tough matches and it can be strange to always have someone around you,” Messi told DAZN,

“In truth, it hasn't happened to me that often. It doesn't bother me, but it is strange.

“Pablo Maffeo of Girona [was the toughest man-marker]. That was intense!

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“I've never been one who complains. I think physical contact and kicks are part of the game."

However, in a strange twist of events, Messi could now be teammates with Maffeo.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

The 26-year-old isn't joining Messi over in the MLS at Inter Miami but Relevo said that he is set to be switch international allegiance and play for Argentina.

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Maffeo, now plying his trade with Mallorca in La Liga, was born in Spain and has represented La Roja at various youth levels, including both Under 19 and Under 21.

But he hasn't made an appearance for the senior Spain squad and is therefore able to make the switch.

Maffeo had planned to turn out for Spain but is eligible to play for the World champions through his mother, who was born in the country.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty
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Talks have progressed in recent times, with manager Lionel Scaloni a huge fan and desperate to bring him in.

Maffeo and the AFA are waiting for a "bureaucratic matter" to be resolved but the federation are confident it will be as they have already told his club he is on their squad list for upcoming games against Uruguay and Brazil.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Girona

Josh Lawless
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