Clermont Foot defender Alidu Seidu has shared his experience on facing Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) attacking trio of Killian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi.
The versatile defender came against the trio in April at the Stade Gabriel Montpied, with PSG winning the game 6-1. Killian Mbappe and Neymar scored three goals each, while Lionel Messi grabbed a hat-trick of assist.
Speaking in an interview with Pure FM, Alidu Seidu shared his experience on facing the trio. First he revealed that playing Mbappe was difficult because of his pace. However, he always made sure he fouled him anytime he went past him.
“I did not spare him because he has pace. So anytime he tries to outpace me, I held his hand and make sure we all fall. He has pace. If you watch him from the stands, you might think the defender doesn’t have speed, but it’s not his fault. Mbappe has pace. He is strong, he has good technique, he has everything, and he is smart. I made up my mind that if he dribbles me, I’ll foul him,” he said in an interview with Pure FM as quoted by Ghanweb.
On defending against Neymar, Seidu said he always had to stay focus and give him space.
“If you don’t focus, he will disgrace you. So, I always give him space after he is done with what he wants to do with the ball then he passes. But when I get close to him, I made sure I get a contact. When he has the ball you might think you’ve dispossessed him but before you’ll realise he has gone past you. And if you are not lucky, he will nutmeg you. And when you get nutmegged, it will go viral. So, I always had my focus on the ball, not on him.”
When asked about facing Messi, he said: “For Messi, he is exceptional. People say he always walks on the pitch, he doesn’t walk for the sake of it. He is always finding space. If you watch him you’ll notice whenever he receives the ball he has space. My coaches use to tell me that a good player is a player who always receives the ball as a free man. For some players, while receiving the ball you’ll see players already on him. But for Messi, you won’t get him.”
“Unless he starts driving with the ball then you tackle him. Anytime you try to get on him before he receives the ball, he had already noticed you. He is an exceptional player. When he was in Barcelona, I didn’t like him. But the truth is he is an exceptional player.”
“At some point, I hit his head with my knee after fouling him. I hit him with my knee and told him ‘Sorry’. He did not say anything because he barely speak on the field,” he added.
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Alidu Seidu enjoyed an impressive debut season in the French Ligue 1, playing 21 matches for Clermont Foot and helping them stay in the league for another season.
The 22-year old recently earned his debut Black Stars call-up and made his debut against Japan in the Kirin Cup.