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Barca star Messi in row with fans before Chelsea defeat

BARCELONA stars were caught up in a row with fans just before their astonishing Champions League defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The police were called to the five-star Grosvenor House Hotel in London after a fracas erupted between Lionel Messi, Daniel Alves and a group of autograph hunters.

Fan James McWatt (19) said he bumped into the Barca pair in the hotel corridor, produced a Barcelona jersey and asked the stars would they sign it.

As Messi went to oblige, he said, Alves took exception to their interruption and began shouting at Mr McWatt and his friends, an incident the youths caught on their phone camera.

Team-mates Adriano, Thiago and Alexis Sanchez came out of their rooms when they heard the furore as a club security guard arrived to end the confrontation.

The police arrived at the scene minutes later and Mr McWatt was questioned about his involvement in the incident before being asked to leave the hotel. Mr McWatt was on a shopping trip from his native Manchester when he realised he was at the same hotel as the Barcelona team. He bought a Barcelona jersey with Messi's name on it hoping he would get his prized signature.

"He was just about to when Daniel Alves put his arm in the way and started screaming at us 'No'," Mr McWatt said.

"He started going mental at us, shouting and screaming in Spanish. I walked away and heard it getting really heated and filmed it.

"We returned to our rooms but later hotel staff and two police officers came in and told us the Barcelona team wanted us out.

"We hadn't been drinking and weren't rowdy, just excited in anticipation of meeting Messi. The incident was unbelievable, my respect for Barcelona has been destroyed."

A hotel spokesperson confirmed the incident: "An incident involving a small number of guests took place. Four guests were asked to leave and did so peacefully."

Barcelona's night would go from bad to worse after a Didier Drogba goal gave Chelsea a priceless 1-0 lead going into next week's second leg at the Nou Camp.

hnews@herald.ie


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