Lionel Messi was always going to be the talking point before the start of the Manchester United vs Barcelona fixture and rightly so.
The Argentinian is one of the all-time best players in the world and stopping the 31-year-old was always going to be a difficult task.
However, Lindelof and Smalling executed that task to perfection. Oh, and the Englishman also broke Messi’s nose in the process, which of course was unintentional.
‘Yeah we (Smalling and Messi) spoke after. I didn’t realise at the time actually that I had caught him like that,’ Smalling told BBC Radio 5 live.
‘But after the game we had a brief chat, shook hands and he said he knew it was an accident.
‘[Luis] Suarez after as well, we had a good tussle and he just shook my hand after and said good luck and we just said good luck.
‘So it’s nice when you can have that battle on the pitch and then obviously there’s full respect after the game because ultimately you’re just trying to do your best and enjoy the game.’
Hopefully, Smalling and co. can come up with the same level of defensive performance in the return fixture.