Scott McTominay recollected an amusing interaction between Lionel Messi and Sergio Romero when he requested for the Barcelona superstar’s shirt.
Man United welcomed Barcelona in the first-leg of the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford in 2019. The high-profile fixture provided several young United starlets with a chance to share the pitch with the legendary Argentine.
McTominay, 22 at the time, was one such player. The United academy graduate, who was only starting to find his feet in the first-team, made sure to make the most out of the meeting with Messi by asking for his shirt through his fellow countryman Sergio Romero.
For the Barcelona captain, the visit to the Theatre of Dreams – much like the Champions League semi-final second leg of 2007-08 campaign – wasn’t as pleasing as it was for the likes of McTominay. He failed to get on the scoresheet, in addition to receiving an elbow to the face.
After the full-time whistle, when Romero approached Messi with McTominay’s request, the Argentine forward was initially reluctant. He thought the Scotsman was the reason behind his bloody nose.
The Man United midfielder, while naming the current best player in the world to ESPN, recalled: “Messi, 100 per cent. Yeah, Messi, Messi. I got his shirt, you know?
“So, whenever we played against him for Barcelona [in 2019], Chris Smalling elbowed him and he’s got blood coming out of his nose. And he thought it was me.
“Because I said to Sergio Romero, ‘please can you ask Messi to get his shirt?’.
“Sergio comes back in and said, ‘Oh, he thinks you were the one who elbowed him on the halfway line’. I said, ‘No, no, no, no – tell him it wasn’t me, so make sure I get that shirt because that’s going in my bedroom’. So he knows it wasn’t me now.
“Sorry Chrissy, but he was the one who roughed him up a bit.”
While McTominay got the shirt, Messi settled the score for his bloody nose by scoring a brace at the Camp Nou in the subsequent leg against Smalling.