Togo defender Djene Dakonam relishes facing Messi

Author: BBC Sport
Togo's defender Djene Dakoman

Togo and Getafe defender Djene Dakonam believes playing regularly against the likes of Lionel Messi in Spain's La Liga has made him a better player.

The 27-year-old made 34 league appearances last season as his club finished fifth to earn a Europa League place.

He moved to Spain from Belgian side Sint-Truidense in 2017 and has enjoyed testing himself against the best strikers in the world.

"Whenever I come up against players like Messi, Griezmann or Ronaldo - like I did last season - it's always exceptional," he told BBC Sport.

"It's always a great source of motivation. As a defender you know these attackers need just an opportunity to get a goal so you have to be on top of your art to contain them.

"You have to be fast, you have to read the game and you have to be a step ahead of them.

"I've worked hard these past seasons playing against them and obviously it's improved my game.

"La Liga this season has been very competitive but as a team we've improved. We play better now.

The former Tonnerre Abomey defender had a first taste of Spanish football between 2014 and 2016 when he played in the second-tier with Alcorcon.