Unai Emery is a man who divides opinions.
On the one hand, he’s the guy who won three consecutive Europa League titles in Seville and a national quadruple with Paris Saint-Germain.
But for Arsenal fans, he largely failed and Lionel Messi doesn’t fully like him either.
Emery, now at Villarreal, has a big week ahead as the Yellow Sub prepares for a La Liga clash with Barcelona and then a reunion with Arsenal in their beloved Europa League.
Gunners fans will be surprised to learn that Emery is doing a great job in Spain, with Villarreal currently sixth.
But Barcelona and Messi continue to haunt him. A 4-0 defeat at Camp Nou in September, with the Argentina superstar on the scoresheet, continued a terrible record for Emery against the Catalans.
We will never forget the dramatic collapse of his PSG squad at the hands of Barca in 2017 – but Sevilla’s incredible 5-4 defeat to Messi et al is less well remembered. in the 2015 UEFA Super Cup.
Sevilla came back from 4-1 to force extra time, before Pedro finally won it for Barca, and the drama meant that an interesting exchange between Messi and Emery went largely unnoticed.
With Barca 2-1 and the ascendant thanks to two free kicks from Messi, the Argentine complained to the fourth official when two balls appeared on the pitch causing an interruption.
With Emery crouching nearby, Mundo Deportivo reported at the time that the Sevilla boss said something that infuriated Messi.
The generally well-bred superstar confronted Emery with words and gestures amid suggestions that it was actually him who threw the second ball onto the field.
Perhaps that is why Messi has continued to score against Emery’s sides to better than a goal per game since.