Friday 9 December 2016

Details of Lionel Messi's tunnel bust-up with Mikel Arteta revealed

Samuel Lovett

Published 03/11/2016 | 15:53

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Barcelona's Lionel Messi

Mikel Arteta, Pep Guardiola’s assistant coach, has emerged as the chief culprit behind the alleged tunnel bust-up that took place in the wake of Barcelona’s 3-1 defeat by Manchester City on Tuesday night.

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According to reports from Spanish radio station La Cope, the former Arsenal man provoked Lionel Messi after telling him to “move along” in the tunnel, while enthusiastically congratulating the City players.

The station reported that while Messi was waiting outside the referee's room, Arteta told the Barcelona star: “Move along stupid, get yourself in your dressing room.”

Messi reacted furiously to Arteta’s barb, calling the Argentine an “imbecile” before shouting: “Come back here, don’t hide.”

Despite the reports, Manchester City have insisted that Arteta was not to blame: “Manchester City and Mikel Arteta would like to make it clear that Mikel did nothing to provoke an incident with Lionel Messi.”

Striker Sergio Aguero similarly played down the ‘incident’.

When asked what he had seen, he said: “Nothing. I thought Messi said something to me but he didn’t, and then we talked about other stuff.”

It was “nothing serious,” the Argentine said. “I heard something but I don’t know what happened.”

Aguero stressed that his friend and compatriot Messi had clearly been “feeling bad” when he saw him at the end of the game.

“I saw him there, he was feeling bad,” the 28-year-old said. “I know him well enough to know when he’s bad, when he’s good. But when you lose, nobody’s good!”

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho was also implicated in the altercation but insisted on Twitter that he was not involved.

“I just want to say that the rumours that are circulating in the media are absurd: I didn't even have contact with any Barcelona players or technical staff after the game,” he said.

(© Independent News Service)

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