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Jan Oblak Brilliantly Sums Up What It's Like Playing Against Lionel Messi

Jan Oblak Brilliantly Sums Up What It's Like Playing Against Lionel Messi

Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak has explained just how hard it is to play against "the best player" Lionel Messi, in a insightful new interview.

The Slovenian has had a number of battles with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner over the years and had no chance of saving some of the sublime individual efforts he conjured up.

In fact, ten of the record-setting 644 goals he's scored for Barcelona have come against the former Benfica man and on occasion Diego Simeone has felt obliged to applaud.

And Oblak, widely viewed as one of the best shot-stoppers in world football, is not afraid to admit that stopping Messi from scoring is an almighty task.

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Image: PA
Image: PA

"He watches my legs," Oblak told Sky Sports as he gave insight into what makes Messi stand out.

"If I make one step, he will see it and shoot to the other side. This is why he is the best. This is why he is so difficult. He does not show it but he is always looking. He is always watching you. His eyes are on the ball but he sees you.

"He sees everything, I think. He has scored many goals against me. Too many! But he is a great player, an amazing player, the best player.

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"There are many times that he scores a goal and you have this feeling that you cannot understand how he has scored so easily.

"You are not even close. Sometimes it feels like he has just passed the ball into the goal, it is not even a shot."

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Messi has scored so many different types of goals from all angles and distances in his glittering career, with Oblak stressing that he is "impossible to predict".

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However, he does have a strategy when Messi gets in one-on-one as he's well aware of the Argentine's love for deftly dinking the ball over onrushing 'keepers.

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"If you go down, he will chip you," Oblak added.

"If you stand up, he will go through your legs. If you go right, he will shoot left. If you go left, he will shoot right. But, in one-on-one situations, the most important thing is to wait until the last second.

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"Do not speed things up. You need to watch the ball and to wait."

Messi's strike against Real Valladolid on Tuesday night means he now holds the record for the most goals scored at a single club.

He knocked off Brazilian legend Pele and the record might never be broken considering anyone looking to usurp him will likely have to average 43 goals for 15 seasons at one club.

Topics: Football News, FC Barcelona, Jan Oblak, Football, Atletico Madrid, Lionel Messi

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Josh Lawless

Josh is a sports journalist who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.