He [Messi] asked me a couple of things, like if I was loaned by City and how old I was. For the week before, it had been on Catalan independence. Barca have played six fellow Catalan sides in the Primera Division - Espanyol, Europa, Sabadell, Gimnastic, Lleida and Condal - but never Girona, who were promoted in the summer. "It's a derby, there was a great atmosphere, tension".
Catalonia's pro-separatist president Carles Puigdemont was in attendance, whilst the pro-independence Estelada flag was waved by sections of both supports. He marked Messi throughout the pitch in order to affect the Argentine's rhythm.
"I had to be with him and to stop him touching the ball. He is too good".
The Argentinian has been in scintillating form this season, scoring nine goals in his first six La Liga games.
Barcelona were unable to cut loose however, and Messi was kept off the scoresheet.
No longer Lionel Messi + 10 more, each and every player is making a contribution, and undoubtedly Ernesto Valverde has to take the credit for instilling such a mentality amongst his squad, including the senior players, quickly.
Machin's tactic was to stick Pablo Maffeo on Messi.
"We needed to combat Girona's enthusiasm and we got the job done".
Girona went into the game following a mixture of results in their opening games.More news: Emotional ad asks GOP senators to reject bill
More news: Ceballos scores 2 in first start as Real Madrid win
More news: Kurd leader says referendum will go forward
"You always contemplate these possibilities because the opposition look to use what weapons they can", he explained.
In the past, that would perhaps have meant huge advantages for Neymar. On the other hand, Luis Suarez should start up front.
Former Barca defender Marc Muniesa will miss out through injury.
But Machin felt Barca rode their luck on Saturday.
"A friend of mine wanted Ter Stegen's shirt so I asked the goalkeeper", Maffeo said via MARCA.
Going into Barcelona's clash against Girona, Messi had scored 12 goals in eight appearances in all competitions for Ernesto Valverde's side. A surprise 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid to start the season and a 1-0 win against Malaga to follow it up.
Valverde's feet are on the ground, though. He said the marking was not pleasant.
That they were unable to get a foothold at any point is testament to just how well the Blaugrana XI played on Saturday night and to how well they've begun the 2017/18 season.