Barcelona and Lionel Messi took on Nastic in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, but it seems things still managed to get a little heated on the pitch.
Messi only played the first 45 minutes, on his first outing since trying to leave the club over the summer, and ended up tangling with defender Javier Ribelles.
The 28-year-old Nastic player opened up on the exchange of words between the two players in a chat with Alex Silvestre of El Chiringuito TV.
Ribelles said Messi told him: “What are you doing, a**hole? Stop kicking me!” The defender responded that he thought Messi was the best and that he was trying to stop him turning.
The exchange with the Barcelona captain also put Ribelles off asking Messi to swap shirts afterwards. He added: “At half-time I was going to ask for the shirt but he was angry with me. In the end I changed it with Griezmann.”
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Koeman Starts With a Win
Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners in the game which was their first pre-season friendly ahead of the new 2020-21 La Liga campaign. Goals from Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmanan, and Philippe Coutinho secured the win.
Messi only played the first 45 minutes and handed Griezmann penalty duties for the second goal. The Argentine usually takes spot-kicks but handed over responsibilities, perhaps mindful that Griezmann missed his third penalty in a row for France recently.
Manager Ronald Koeman spoke about Messi’s performance after the match and seemed happy with his captain’s contribution.
“He [Messi] has shown the same spirit as in the first day. He’s training well and did the same on our day off. He knows that he has to improve physically, like everyone, but his quality speaks for itself.”
Barcelona have two more friendly matches lined up this week. They take on local rivals Girona on Wednesday and then welcome newly-promoted Elche to the Camp Nou on Saturday for the Joan Gamper Trophy.
Messi Continues as Captain
Messi and the rest of the Barcelona team were given the day off on Sunday but will return to training on Monday to continue their pre-season preparations ahead of their first game against Villarreal.
The Catalans also confirmed over the weekend that Messi will continue to wear the armband next season despite the recent drama over whether he would be staying at the club.
Our 4️⃣ captains. pic.twitter.com/uNZfDb6jLc
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 13, 2020
The decision over who will captain the side for 2020-21 was made by the squad, with the players once again voting for the 33-year-old to lead the team.