On his day, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is, without doubt, one of the best midfielders in world football - and he proved that on Tuesday night with an outstanding individual display against La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
The diminutive 29-year-old, who helped Italy to a famous European Championship win at Wembley last summer, ran the show against a midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro at the Parc des Princes.
Marco Verratti vs Real Madrid— Luca (@LucaDmng) February 15, 2022
⏱ 90 minutes
👟 123 ballons touchés
🧹 92,2% de passes précises
🔑 6 passes clés
🌬 3/3 dribbles réussis
🏔 8/13 duels au sol remportés
🪚 2 tacles
🧲 9 ballons récupérés
En chaussons. Merci. pic.twitter.com/VuF2q4mTT2
"I knew Verratti was an excellent player," he said after PSG secured a 1-0 win against Los Blancos after a late Kylian Mbappe winner. "But I didn't realise he was so spectacular.
Most of us reading this will have witnessed what Verratti has to offer. He is a man that turns up for the biggest of occasions but what if he had the work ethic of Cristiano Ronaldo? Would he be an even better player?
French football journalist Julien Laurens once made that very comparison and questioned what the Italian could achieve if he had matched five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo's lifestyle.
In an interview with BBC 5 Live Sport in 2019, shortly after Verratti produced a fine individual display for PSG in their 2-0 win over Manchester United in the Champions League, Laurens gave an insight into his lifestyle.
He claimed that the former Pescara midfielder smokes, drinks and is out almost every day of the week.
'He smokes, drinks and parties but Marco Verratti was just sensational' @LaurensJulien wonders what the Italian midfielder could achieve if he only had the work ethic of Cristiano Ronaldo— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) February 12, 2019
🔴💻 - Follow Final Score: https://t.co/JGGx2LJTlu #UCL pic.twitter.com/hZtlR5JSFB
He said: "For me Verratti, because he was not fit, because he was not 100 per cent, because he's only played one game in the last month.
"Last week he was partying until 6am for Neymar's birthday, because he smokes, because he drinks because he's out almost every day of the week.
"I think if he had the lifestyle of Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, the work ethic of him, I don't know where he would be in terms of world-class midfielders.
"But the ability he has combined with the lifestyle that he has at the moment and yet still being able to put out a performance like tonight is just incredible.”
PSG star Marco Verratti smokes alongside Victoria’s Secret model Izabel Goulart enjoyed a day out on holiday in St Tropez. Verratti aldo joined with his girlfriend model Jessica Aidi pic.twitter.com/ufZVUNFvBV— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) June 10, 2020
Verratti, who married French model girlfriend Jessica Aidi last year, has been open about his lifestyle down the years.
“We play football, but sometimes people forget that we are also human beings. We get days off, we can go out with our friends, with family," he said In an interview with Le Parisien in 2019.
“What I hate is when people have unchangeable ideas of me. But honestly, I don’t really care. Everyone is free to think what they want. You can judge me on the things I do on the pitch, what I can bring to the team. But not off of it.
“I always hear that I am injured because of my lifestyle… when I injured my ankle (in January) that had nothing to do with it, a player takes my foot away. Things are said about me, said about others, that are truly rubbish.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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