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Former Manchester United captain Patrice Evra once claimed that Liverpool‘s James Milner was a tougher opponent than Lionel Messi
When thinking of players that would give defenders a tough time, Milner is probably not the first name that springs to mind. 
However, according to Evra, defending Milner was the toughest task he faced during his career, not Messi. 
The Frenchman made the statement during an appearance on Monday Night Football and even went as far as claiming he could “deal with” the Argentinian. 
Evra explained: “I played against Messi many times, in the wide position, I wouldn’t say he’s easy to mark but I could deal with him.
“When he goes more central – that’s when he’s more dangerous because he can turn on the right and left.”
Evra’s position as a left-back meant that Messi was no longer his concern once the magician moved to a more central position. But clearly, the former United man believes he coped well when the PSG star was playing down his side. 
However, there were at least a few battles between the two players that make Evra’s comments look a bit silly, to say the least. 
One such occasion was during a Champions League match in 2008 when the little magician flicked the ball over Evra as he dived in for a tackle and left him for dead. 

Evra: "I played against Messi many times in the wide position, and I won’t say he’s easy to mark, but I could deal with him"

Also Evra: pic.twitter.com/V8UZWDPQPi
Pretty embarrassing stuff for the full-back, and that wasn’t the only time. Messi also left the Frenchman in his dust moments before David Villa’s goal in the 2011 Champions League final.

Did you really have to ask?? pic.twitter.com/9Vhg9w2cbk
It seems Evra must have a selective memory when it comes to the Argentinian, but we can’t really blame him for wanting to forget such moments. 

The 40-year-old did at least offer an explanation of his reasoning behind his choice though, he answered: “James Milner, because he would frustrate me.
“I am an attacking defender and he would follow me everywhere, he would challenge me in the air.
“Sometimes I would say to him ‘just go and attack – leave me alone!’”

The best player @Evra has ever played against?

Yep, you got it @JamesMilner 💪 pic.twitter.com/5rE0MMrIVj
He continued: “When I was playing the derby against Manchester City I had him, then he went to Liverpool and I came up against him again.
“So for me, the one who frustrated me the most was James Milner.”
And it seems that Evra isn’t the only elite full-back to struggle when facing the Liverpool midfielder. Barcelona’s Dani Alves didn’t go as far as claiming Milner was the toughest opponent he’d faced, but he did claim he was the most annoying.
In 2016, Alves told The Times, per Goal: “I have faced many, but the most annoying was James Milner.”
At least Evra can find some comfort in the fact he was not alone in his frustrations. 
My hobbies include skydiving, bungee jumping, bull riding and lying to make myself seem more interesting. 
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By faress

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