Players have been trying and failing to stop Lionel Messi in his tracks for over 13 years now.
And it’s still not getting any easier.
But Arsenal banter merchant Francis Coquelin went to new extremes in his bid to stop the Barcelona maestro on Thursday night.
Coquelin – now playing for Valencia in Spain – came up against Messi in the Copa del Rey second leg at the Mestalla, trailing from 1-0 from the first clash the week before.
With the Argentine picking up the ball on the edge of the Valencia box, the French midfielder’s man-marking job saw him track his every move.
So much so that Coqulin literally wrestled Messi’s shirt off his back.
Amazingly, the Barcelona forward wasn’t awarded a free kick by the referee despite having his jersey around his head.
Not that it would matter, with the Catalans clinching a 2-0 win on the night and a 3-0 aggregate victory to book their place in the Copa del Rey final.
And it was a big night for Philippe Coutinho, with the Brazilian getting off the mark for his new club after his £145m move from Liverpool last month.
Coutinho opened the scoring just after half time before Ivan Rakitic made sure of the win late on.
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