Trying to kick Lionel Messi out of a game doesn’t work, according to Felipe Melo – because he just keeps coming back for more.
The tough-tackling Brazilian has faced Messi at club and international level, and says the story of beating him once for Brazil is one he will tell to his grandchildren.
Melo is now in the final years of his career at Palmeiras, after previously representing the likes of Juventus, Inter, Galatasaray and Almeria.
“I played a lot against Messi,” Melo told Ole.
“He is special because if you kick him, he gets up and comes for another kick. He is not afraid.
“He is in the top three players in history, it is crazy.
“I remember when we played in Rosario, in a very important match for Argentina. We won 3-1 and played very well; it was an Argentina team with Veron, one of my greatest idols, who I loved.
“Messi did not do much. I am going to tell that story to my children, my grandson – at least in that game, we stopped Messi.”
If kicking Messi out of the game was an option, Melo would arguably be one of the players most qualified for the job.
But, looking back on a long career which has brought league titles in Turkey and Brazil, as well as Confederations Cup glory with his country, Melo says there was more to his game than roughhousing.
“There are players who make the difference,” he said.
“Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar… then Felipe Melo with the kicking, which I do very well.
“But I’m not just about kicking people, am I? I was also able to assist Robinho, for me with one of the best assists in the history of the World Cup, against the Netherlands [in 2010].
“When people think of Felipe Melo, they think of kicking, but I wasn’t just about kicking. I did not play at Juventus, Inter, Fiorentina and Galatasaray just by kicking people.
“I won 15 trophies, I have a little bit of quality too.”
Melo has been in the headlines recently after a spat with former Juventus team-mate Giorgio Chiellini.
The Italian labelled Melo “the worst of the worst” and “a bad apple”, but Melo hit back with a scathing indictment of Chiellini’s own character.