Former Barcelona defender claims tackling Lionel Messi in training was banned

Former Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo has revealed a bizarre training ground rule for Lionel Messi.

Todibo was tipped as a future star upon joining La Blaugrana from French side Toulouse in 2019, after agreeing a free transfer deal with the Ligue 1 club, under Ernesto Valverde’s leadership.

However, a mixture of injuries and a lack of playing time hindered his chances of breaking through at Barcelona, with the centre back being loaned out to Schalke 04, Benfica and Nice, either side of making just five appearances in his two seasons in Catalonia.

Barcelona eventually opted to accepted a permanent deal to offload him to Nice in 2021, with a future sale percentage guaranteed to Barcelona, if he moves on before his contract expires.

Todibo has recaptured his early promise back in France, and has developed into one of the top centre backs in Ligue 1, but he remembers well an odd rule from his time at Barcelona.

“At Barcelona they didn’t allow us to touch Messi in training. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. We had to be careful”, as per quotes from Marca.

“But, that’s normal, he’s the best, and you don’t want to hurt him.”