Chris Smalling Has Spoken About His Collision With Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi left Old Trafford with a bloodied nose and a large gash on his eyebrow after clashing with Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, so how did he react to the England international when they came face to face afterwards?
The England international has since revealed there was absolutely no hard feelings between the pair following the clash. In fact, Messi completely understood that the coming together was an accident and shook Smalling's hand afterwards.
"'Yeah we spoke after. I didn't realise at the time actually that I had caught him like that," Smalling told BBC Radio 5 live.
"But after the game we had a brief chat, shook hands and he said he knew it was an accident."
'Messi knew it was an accident' - Smalling
Man United defender Chris Smalling spoke about the aerial collision with Lionel Messi, which left the Barcelona forward with a bloodied nose.
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:calling::computer:: https://t.co/X4R5uT0Ykb pic.twitter.com/QwUvz5v291
- BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) April 12, 2019
Smalling went on to speak about another Barcelona player, Luis Suarez, who was also gracious in victory, wishing him the best of luck after the final whistle:
" Luis Suarez after as well, we had a good tussle and he just shook my hand after and said good luck and we just said good luck." he said.
"So it's nice when you can have that battle on the pitch and then obviously there's full respect after the game because ultimately you're just trying to do your best and enjoy the game."
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Smalling's plan to stop Messi in full effect pic.twitter.com/3O54OmfRSx
- Juan Velazquez (@JuanDirection58) April 10, 2019
For many, the thought of coming up against the greatest of all time is enough to give you sleepless nights for weeks, if not months, but Smalling wasn't fazed in the slightest ahead of kick-off.
In Tuesday's press conference alongside manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the 29-year-old said he was "relishing the challenge" of facing arguably the greatest footballer of all time.
"It is a challenge I relish. Bring it on." he told the media.
:speaking_head:️:microphone2:️ ""It's a challenge I relish. Bring it on." :punch:
Chris Smalling is relishing test of coming up against Lionel Messi on Wednesday night. #mufc pic.twitter.com/tPFi3K2Y3M
- Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) April 9, 2019
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backed his player, saying Messi would be difficult to stop but "it's never impossible." to mark him out of the game. They did just that, to be fair.
"He will be difficult to stop, but it's never impossible," he said.
"We can't just focus on one player because there are 11 of them. Messi will without doubt be remembered as one of football's greatest ever players."