Former Espanyol defender Alvaro Gonzalez has opened up on an amusing conversation between himself and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Gonzalez, 29, now turns out for French side Marseille, on loan from Villarreal, but faced Messi in a number of derbi barceloní clashes during his time with Espanyol.
What happened between Gonzalez and Messi? Five things to know…
- Gonzalez spent two years at Espanyol, between 2014 and 2016.
- During his time there, the centre-back went up against Barcelona on a number of occasions.
- On one occasion, Gonzalez said he tried to make fun of Messi’s height.
- But the Argentinian retorted with a jibe about Gonzalez’s footballing ability.
- Now at Marseille, Gonzalez reveals he agreed with Messi and both players laughed in good spirits.
And the defender has now revealed how, during a run of three consecutive matches against their bitter rivals in January 2016, he tried to get one over on Messi by commenting on his height, only to have the Argentinian hit back in equally brutal fashion.
“It is quite a funny anecdote,” he told RMC.
“It was a period where we had three consecutive derbies between Espanyol and Barcelona. Matches of great intensity.
“We used to banter each other back and forth. I said to him: ‘You are really small, minuscule.’ He looks at me and responds: ‘You, you are really bad at football.'”
Gonzalez then revealed how he got the final word in before both players shared a laugh at the exchange.
He added: “I had the final word: ‘Yes, we are both right.’ We laughed together and this story brought about a lot of smiles in Spain.”
Ligue 1 gives Gonzalez his “most amazing” experience in football
Gonzalez played in a number of huge matches during his time in Spain, turning out in some of world football’s most iconic stadiums.
However, it is his short time in France which has already given the 29-year-old his “most amazing” experience in football to date, with the passion of Ligue 1 fans catching the Spaniard off guard.
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“What surprised me the most is the passion for football that I have seen in the stadiums,” Gonzalez said.
“I have only experienced two matches at the Vélodrome. The last was against St Étienne and it was certainly the most amazing experience I have ever had in a stadium.
“The two matches away from home, at Nice and Nantes, also surprised me in terms of atmosphere. It was loud and intense. And thus very motivational for us on the pitch.”