What's the story?
Jose Mourinho, regarded as one of the pre-eminent football managers of today has now revealed how he nullified the mercurial Argentine in 2010 with Inter Milan, through a tactics video he did for The Coach's Voice. The Portuguese manager had eliminated a Messi-led Barcelona in the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League Semis.
In case you didn't know...
Jose Mourinho is regarded as one of the most tactically proficient manager's of the current era and is best known for winning the Champions League title twice with FC Porto (2003-04) and Inter Milan (2009-10).
Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona, under the captaincy of Messi, are well on course for a historic treble of trebles. They wrapped up the La Liga title recently and have also reached the final of the Copa del Rey. Lionel Messi has been in superb form this season with his otherworldly standards, scoring a sensational 48 goals and providing 22 assists, as Barcelona are won course to win 3 major trophies this season.
He hit the headlines again last week after netting a sensational brace as Barcelona beat Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
The heart of the matter
In the 2009-10 Champions League semi-finals, Mourinho's Inter had to face down an in-form Messi and Barcelona. In the first leg at home at the San Siro, Inter pressed their home ground advantage to steamroll the Blaugrana 3-1 and then closed out the tie away in the Nou Camp with a defensive masterclass, going down by a lone goal.
Mourinho ensured that his players knew that the best way to hurt Barcelona was to put pressure on them during attacking transitions. They pushed players like Goran Pandev and Samuel Etto inside, to force the play out wide where they used their fast wingbacks to close down Barcelona quickly. Mourinho exploited the weakness of Barcelona wingbacks Maxwell and Dani Alves who were known to be poor at recovering balls if caught out of possession.
Mourinho stressed that he dealt with Messi's forays in between the defensive lines by ensuring the defensive midfielders and the left back were communicating constantly, creating a 'jail' or 'cage' around the magisterial 'Messiah'. Thiago Motta, Esteban Cambiasso and the legendary Javier Zanetti worked tirelessly to execute Mourinho's plans, ensuring Messi rarely got the ball and that he was immediately closed down during the rare occasions he did recieve it.
Having wrapped up the LaLiga title and rested key players in the weekend's 2-0 loss to Celta Viga, Lionel Messi and Barcelona will head to Anfield to face Liverpool in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, with the kickoff scheduled for Wednesday, 12:30 AM IST.Published 06 May 2019, 20:00 IST