Manchester United legend Chris Smalling is working on his signature forearm smash ahead of his side’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barcelona, according to reports.
Last week Smalling left journalists drenched in tears and other bodily fluids when he boldly declared he was ‘relishing’ the prospect of facing Barca star player Lionel Messi.
However, the former Maidstone United regular left journos eating humble pie when he subdued the little Argentine by giving him a mild concussion.
‘When I said there was a weakness in Messi’s game that only I knew about, you all laughed’, Smalling told Paddy Power News.
‘But I knew if I caused Lionel a serious head trauma then it might affect his game’.
Of course, the United No.12 was referring to an aerial challenge which left Messi’s nose pointing towards the Stretford End while the rest of his body stood facing the South Stand.
So, after successfully nullifying the threat of Barca’s No.10 during the first leg, Smalling is reportedly plotting to utilise the same tactic in tonight’s return fixture at the Nou Camp.
Paddy Power News has obtained exclusive pictures showing the 29-year-old centre back decapitating countless mannequins using his signature forearm smash at United’s Carrington training ground.
The snaps also shows the towering defender taking tips from former WWE superstar Lex Luger, who United coaching staff drafted in to give their player some expert advice.
Luger, real name Lawrence Wendell Pfohl, is a close family friend of the Glazers and admits he jumped at the opportunity to assist the United star in perfecting his technique.
‘When I saw Chris rearrange Messi’s face during the soccer game, I must admit it took me back to my Wrestling heyday’, said Luger wistfully.
‘When Joel (Glazer) invited me to Manchester to work with Chris on his technique, I had no hesitation in saying yes’, explained the 1994 Royal Rumble winner.
Paddy Power News sources claim United’s medical staff briefly considered inserting a steel plate in Smalling’s arm but were concerned he wouldn’t make it through airport security without raising suspicion.
Speaking ahead of United’s make-or-break clash with the Spanish giants, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for his centre back.
‘Before the first game I told Chris to mark Messi and to be fair to Chris, Messi left the pitch with marks all over his face’, beamed the Norwegian.
'Messi knew it was an accident' – Smalling
🤕 Man United defender Chris Smalling spoke about the aerial collision with Lionel Messi, which left the Barcelona forward with a bloodied nose.
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) April 12, 2019
When asked if he was surprised by how well his player handled the Argentinian captain, Solskjaer said:
‘Lionel was unusually quiet. Probably because he lost the power of speech due to the severity of the blow to his head’.
But the 46-year-old former striker refused to address rumours that striker Alexis Sanchez had been left behind in Manchester after reports emerged he’d been arrested.
However, a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police later confirmed an arrest was made.
‘This morning officers arrested a man in connection with stealing a living’.
‘A 30-year-old Chilean man is currently helping police with their enquiries’.