Alessandro Nesta, one of the great defenders of the 21st century and a World Cup winner with Italy, has spoken about being "mentally destroyed" by Lionel Messi.
Nesta told several anecdotes about playing against Messi in 2013, when Barcelona and AC Milan met in the Championsleague.
"In the tenth minute I kicked Messi and fell to the ground exhausted, I could see the stars," he told Calciatori Brutti.
"He was already giving me his hand to pull me up. There he mentally destroyed me.
"Do you understand? I was on the ground and when after two seconds I open my eyes, I see his face with his hand in front that he wanted to help me get up. He mentally destroyed me there."
Asked to compare Messi with Cristiano Ronaldo, he added: "I played against both Ronaldo and Messi. The little one (Messi) is phenomenal: but the other scores 40 goals a year.
"They are both strong each in their own way. I prefer not to meet Messi between the two."