lionel-messi-once-called-james-milner-a-‘donkey’-over-and-over-again-in-the-tunnel-after-altercation

Lionel Messi called James Milner a ‘donkey’ after a coming together during Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League.

Messi scored a brace when the two sides first met back in 2019, a semi-final tie best known for Liverpool’s sensational comeback at Anfield.

One who did get close was veteran midfielder Milner. He evidently left his mark on Messi too, with the Argentina superstar keen to express his frustration at one challenge in particular.

Milner claimed in his 2019 autobiography, ‘Like A Footballer’, that he had words with Messi in the tunnel after flooring him with a stiff body check.

“I caught him with a heavy challenge … he wasn’t happy at all,” the Liverpool midfielder explained. “When we went down the tunnel at half-time, I gave him a tap and said, ‘Are you okay?’ or something like that. And he went off on one.

“He was shouting ‘burro’, which means donkey but is also a general term in Spanish football for someone who goes around kicking opponents.”

Interestingly, Messi claimed Milner crunched him out of retaliation for an incident that occurred during the latter’s time at Manchester City in 2015.

Messi and Milner have met a number of times. (Image Credit: Alamy)Messi nutmegged Milner and left him in the dust, something he was quick to joke about. Milner understood because he’s fluent in Spanish.

“I don’t know if he realised I could understand Spanish, but he said, ‘You did that because I nutmegged you’,” Milner continued. “I wasn’t going to get into a debate with him… he nutmegs pretty much every player he comes up against, why would I take that personally?”

In the return leg a few weeks later, Messi got into it with Milner’s teammate Andy Robertson. Minutes into the contest, Robertson gave Messi a push while he was getting off the ground.

Robertson regrets his actions. (Image Credit: Alamy)”When I look back on things I don’t really regret anything because I feel as if everything is experience that makes you what you are,” the Scotland international told the Daily Mail in 2020.

“But I do look back on that moment with Messi as one regret. I don’t like seeing it. When I saw it afterwards I was gutted.”