Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has admitted that he regrets his push on Lionel Messi during the Reds clash with Barcelona in 2019.
Robertson started the famous Champions League semi-final in typically aggressive form, shoving Messi in the head as he appealed for a free-kick.
It was part of a full-blooded approach which no doubt helped Liverpool overturn a 3-0 first-leg defeat. But speaking to Kammy & Ben’s Proper Football Podcast, Robertson openly says he owes the World Cup winner an apology.
“He was speaking Spanish, I was speaking Scottish and I don’t think we both really understood each other,” he said of Messi. “When I look back on that incident, I regret kind of pushing his head but it kind of summed up the attitude of the lads in the changing room. You know, we just thought nothing was going to get in our way that night, and everyone was our enemy and things like that, and we were all kind of really pumped up and things like that.
“But if I ever seen him again, I’d apologise, that’s for sure. But at the end of the day, out of the 1000 games he’s played, that was probably one of his quieter ones. So I’m not trying to take any credit, but maybe 1% of it had me to do with it. I’ll take 1%. That’s enough for me.”
Save your apologies, Robbo!
Robbo doesn’t need to apologise for absolutely anything. Most Liverpool fans will remember the incident in question well, and as the left-back says, it all fed into creating a raucous Anfield atmosphere.
Messi isn’t a player who tends to hide when things aren’t going his way. The little magician is capable of lighting up any game at any moment. He’s shown that thousands of times over the years.
But on that night at Anfield, perhaps the sheer intensity of the Liverpool players and crowd just got to him a little.
Although Robertson absolutely played his part in that, he shouldn’t take too much credit. A run-in with Luis Suarez meant the Scotland captain was subbed off at half-time, with the mercurial Gini Wijnaldum coming on in his place. What a substitution that turned out to be.
So, if, in some small way, Robertson’s little shove on Messi inspired Suarez to intentionally injure him – which the Uruguayan absolutely did – and subsequently get Gini on the pitch, then it was all worth it in the end.
Opposition fans may love to hate these antics from Robbo, but it’s part of what makes him so endearing to Liverpool fans. A bit of the same fight would have been nice to see in Madrid last night, but we’ll always have Barcelona.
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