Messi headbutt as tempers flare in Barca win | Inquirer Sports

Messi headbutt as tempers flare in Barca win

/ 03:30 PM August 06, 2015
AS Roma's French defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (L) is touched by Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) during the 50th Joan Gamper Trophy football match FC Barcelona vs AS Roma at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 5, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / QUIQUE GARCIA

AS Roma’s French defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (L) is touched by Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) during the 50th Joan Gamper Trophy football match FC Barcelona vs AS Roma at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / QUIQUE GARCIA

Lionel Messi was at the center of a headbutting controversy on Wednesday as Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 victory over Serie A side Roma in a pre-season friendly at the Camp Nou.

The Argentinian superstar, renowned for rarely losing his cool despite regularly being the target of brutal tackling, reacted angrily during a confrontation with Roma’s French international Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

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Footage of the first half incident showed Messi aiming a headbutt at Yanga-Mbiwa’s after the Roma defender appeared to nod his head in the direction of the diminutive South American star.

A furious Messi grabbed Yanga-Mbiwa by the throat after clashing with the defender before other players rushed over to intervene.

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Messi escaped a red card for the incident however, receiving only a caution from referee Javier Estrada Fernandez. Yanga-Mbiwa was also booked.

The flashpoint represented a rare loss of cool for Messi. The Argentine has never been sent off for Barcelona and has only ever been red-carded once — on his international debut as a teenager in 2005.

Messi’s anger soon subsided however as moments after the incident, he doubled Barcelona’s lead, making it 2-0 following a superb flowing move involving Luis Suarez, Dani Alves and Neymar, who had scored Barca’s first.

Ivan Rakitic made it 3-0 in the second half with a long range strike as Barcelona completed a routine win.

Barcelona kick off the defence of their Spanish league crown against Athletic Bilbao on August 23.

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TAGS: Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, Dani Alves, Football, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, roma, serie a, Sports
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