Hector ‘La Perita’ Castellanos had no breather on Lionel Messi’s neck in the first minute of Argentina’s 3-0 win over Honduras in a friendly at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
The holding midfielder was picked by coach Diego Vazquez to personally pursue the PSG star, who swapped shirts at the end of the match.
In front of the media, Castellanos described his experience in the game with Messi with great emotion and humility, with whom he shared two sentences in the face of his personal record until he came off in the 76′ minute of the game.
– What did he say –
Marked Messi from the start
“That is what was instructed and trained. He had to do it, and I think he did it very well. Coach Diego Vasquez told me that he will mark Messi personally from the first day of training camp (Monday).
How did you prepare to mark Leo?
“I was given a player with very good characteristics in handling the ball, when they taught me how a player marked him in a game against Girona when he was at Barcelona, I was shown videos of Leo’s movements Jove Benavides.
They made me do those symbolic movements, and I had to follow him (Joe), as well as watch Leo evolve, which he does very well.
What did he say to you during the game?
“I’ll be honest with you, he said to me very kindly and calmly: ‘You’re not going to follow me the whole game?’ I answered with a matter-of-fact ‘yes, crack’; Leo laughed. He didn’t say much to me, and from then on I gave him occasional annoyed looks (laughs), but he didn’t say anything rude to me.
How was your experience?
“It’s a mental battle with him, not a physical one. Sometimes he stays in an offside position and makes me work doubly because I have to be careful to cut him down along the center line.
As for the result, I think maybe it was not expected, it was not the result that was due, Honduras wanted to win, but we should have known that we are facing one of the candidates to win the World Cup.
Messi scored but you took the shirt…
“I take the shirt, I won a lot today (laughs). We made eye contact at the end of the game and I was going to move to him to change the shirt, but he remembered and pointed to it because he said yes earlier. The moment he asked me if I was going to mark him for the whole game I asked him that.