clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mark Clattenburg explains what it’s like to referee Lionel Messi

The Barcelona star made the ref change his approach

FBL-EUR-C1-PSG-BARCELONA Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

Referee Mark Clattenburg has been talking about what it’s like to referee Lionel Messi and said he was left “shell-shocked” the first time he took charge of a match involving the Barcelona star.

Clattenburg has refereed some of the biggest stars in the world game, taking charge of matches in the Premier League, Champions League and the European Championships.

He first came across Messi in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain and explained how the forward made him change the way he approached the game.

“When I first refereed Messi, I was shell-shocked, genuinely,” he said.

“It was Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain and, being so close, I remember thinking: ‘“Oh my God, this is unbelievable.’

“When you referee, you tend to watch the ball. With him, you could lose the ball, so imagine what it was like for defenders!

“I had to change the way I analysed the situation when he was on the ball. He was so skilful that opponents would try to stop him in different ways, sometimes by fouling him on the foot, sometimes with their upper body.

“I cautioned him in that first game against PSG for standing on an opponent’s foot, but he never complained or said anything. He never engaged at all, in fact. That was just him.”

Source | Daily Mail

Clattenburg also spoke about “unbelievable” Luis Suarez after refereeing him in a match when he scored four for Ajax. He added Suarez always “played on the edge” and “would always give you the verbals in Spanish.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes