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When you hear the name Lionel Messi, you probably think of a mild-mannered guy with some incredible soccer skills. The second part of that statement is undeniably true; the first, however, might not be 100% accurate.

While Messi might not be pulling a Michael Jordan and engaging in verbal warfare before virtually every game, the Argentine star is capable of engaging in a bit of trash talk. And, as you’d expect, he has the skill set required to back it up.

With all of that being said, let’s run down the list of Messi’s best trash-talking stories. You’ll never look at him the same way again.

5. Messi can be “rude” on the pitch, according to an opponent

PSG forward Lionel Messi yells on the pitch.
Lionel Messi yells during a PSG match. | Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

The one lands at the bottom of the list, largely because we don’t know what Messi actually said. The idea of him being “rude,” however, flies in the face of his squeaky clean image.

While Jerzy Dudek may be most widely remembered for his heroics with Liverpool, the Polish goalie did spend some time at Real Madrid. There, he was able to see Lionel Messi up close and personal during El Clasico. Let’s just say he didn’t like what he saw.

“He was deceptive and provocative, the same as Barcelona and Pep Guardiola,” Dudek wrote in his book, according to Marca. “I saw Messi say such rude things to Pepe and [Sergio] Ramos that you would not imagine from such a quiet and seemingly good person.”

Was the Argentine really letting his opponents have it? Or was Dudek just a sensitive guy who didn’t appreciate trash talk? At this point, the mystery remains unsolved.

4. Calling an opposition goalie a jerk

While this is some pretty mild trash talk, it lands one step higher on the list because we actually know what Messi said.

At the tail end of the 2015-16 season, Messi’s Barcelona faced off against Espanyol in a local derby. During the match, Espanyol goalie Pau Lopez appeared to give Luis Suarez a bit of a kick. The two had tangled earlier in the season, and it seemed like there was no love lost between opponents.

Then Messi arrived to unleash a barrage of verbal assaults, unlike anything the world had ever seen before. Just kidding. According to a CBS Sports post from the time, he essentially said, “Get out of here, dumb***. Get out of here, jerk.”

Hey, those words probably feel a bit more intimidating when they’re coming from a living legend.

3. Messi really lets loose and calls another player “bad”

If you thought number three was vicious, brace yourself. This one gets real.

Remember how I mentioned that Pau Lopez and Luis Suarez exchanged some words during a previous Barcelona-Espanyol match? Well, Messi apparently got in on the act, too.

According to a Mirror story from January 2016, Espanyol’s Alvaro told Messi that he was “really small.” The Argentine decided to fight fire with fire and unleashed a withering insult of his own. The response? “You’re really bad.”

Again, we have to assume that hits a bit harder when one of soccer’s greatest players ever is the one calling you bad.

2. Who’s dancing now?

Now we’re getting into the good stuff.

During the 2021 Copa America, Argentina met Colombia in one of the semifinals. That match went to penalty kicks, and Everton defender Yerry Mina stepped up to take a crucial kick for the latter squad.

First, Argentina goalie Emi Martinez engaged in his own intimidation tactics, shouting the following, according to ESPN:

You’re nervous, huh? I can tell you’re nervous. I know where you’re going to shoot. Watch and see how I’m going to eat you up. Remember, I’m going to eat you up.”

Emi Martinez

Mina did end up missing, which gave Messi the chance to join the fun.

During Colombia’s previous match, Mina converted a penalty to help secure a win over Uruguay. When his kick found the back of the net, he started dancing on the penalty spot. Argentina’s biggest star, who also played alongside the defender at Barcelona, apparently noticed that celebration.

“Dance now,” he yelled after Martinez saved Mina’s spot kick. Talk about adding insult to injury.

1.Messi channels his inner Larry Bird with the promise of nutmegs

If you’re a basketball fan, you’ll know that one of Larry Bird’s signature moves was telling his opponents exactly how he planned to beat them before doing exactly that. On the pitch, it seems like Lionel Messi is capable of producing similar moments.

In an old BT Sport interview with Rio Ferdinand, Yaya Toure remembered an encounter with his old Barcelona teammate during a Champions League match.

“He was more than good [that night against Manchester City],” Toure explained. There was also a fear factor at play, though.

According to the Ivorian, he and Messi linked up before the game, and the Argentine said that he was going to produce some nutmegs that night. While Toure knew to be careful and avoid the embarrassment, James Milner and some other Citizens weren’t as lucky.


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Pulling off those moves on European soccer’s biggest stage is already pretty impressive. Telling an opponent exactly what you’re going to do and then executing? That’s next level.

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