Van der Vaart (not in pic) says that Messi (right) was impossible to mark in El Clasicos.

"If he goes to the toilet? You go with him" - Ex-Real Madrid star explains how hard it is to mark Lionel Messi, providing Sergio Ramos example 

Former Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has used Sergio Ramos as an example to show how difficult it was to mark Barcelona legend Lionel Messi during the El Clasico.

Barcelona's record goalscorer went toe-to-toe with Real Madrid 45 times during his 17-season spell at the Camp Nou. He won 19 matches against them and lost 15, scoring a staggering 26 goals and claiming 14 assists.

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Ramos crossed Messi’s path on 42 occasions (14 wins) but generally had a difficult time keeping the Argentine quiet. Van der Vaart, who was a Los Blancos player between 2010 and 2012, has revealed what Ramos’ instructions were during El Clasicos.

Van der Vaart: "I played at Real Madrid. We put Sergio Ramos on Messi. If he goes that direction? You go with him. If he goes to the toilet? You go with him. After the game he was toyed around with. It's so hard to defend him. Maybe it's better for us not to mark him."

Speaking to Dutch outlet NPO Start, the former Netherlands international said:

“I played at Real Madrid. We put Sergio Ramos on Messi. If he goes that direction? You go with him. If he goes to the toilet? You go with him.”

Van der Vaart claimed that Ramos got toyed around with by Messi and that it was probably better had no one marked him.

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“After the game he was toyed around with. It's so hard to defend him. Maybe it's better for us not to mark him,” the former Tottenham Hotspur man concluded.

Lionel Messi will hope to guide Argentina past Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Friday (December 9).


Argentina are more than just Lionel Messi - Virgil Van Dijk

The world will hold its breath when Lionel Messi’s Argentina square off against Virgil van Dijk’s Netherlands on Friday. The individual battle between the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and Van Dijk, one of the best centre-backs in the world, would be an interesting one.

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Liverpool & Holland defender Virgil Van Dijk talking about Lionel Messi.

The Liverpool defender, though, has played down the significance of the individual tussle, saying that La Albicelste are more than just their talisman.

“It's not about me, or the Netherlands, against Messi; it's about the Netherlands against Argentina,” Van Dijk said at a press conference.

When asked whether he was worried about facing Messi, Van Dijk said:

“Worried no, but cautious of what Argentina can bring to the game. They are a fantastic team with fantastic players, and we are going to have to do well in all departments of the match.”

Messi has been in scorching form for Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scoring thrice and assisting once. Interestingly, the Albiceleste prevailed on penalties the last time they took on the Oranje at the World Cup (2014 semifinals).

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Edited by
Sushan Chakraborty
 
 
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