Lionel Messi headbutted Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in the Joan Gamper Trophy at Camp Nou on Wednesday night, after seemingly exchanging words with the AS Roma defender.
FC Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 win over the Italian club in the friendly trophy, but it was Lionel Messi making the headlines as always – first with a Zinedine Zidane-esque headbutt on Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, and then scoring with a deft finish from the edge of the box as normal life resumed at Camp Nou.
Messi played an outrageous pass in the build-up to Neymar’s goal. However, soon after, the Argentine striker was involved in an altercation with former Newcastle defender Yanga-Mbiwa. The diminutive Argentine lost his cool and headbutted the French defender before momentarily grabbing him by the throat. Both Messi and Yanga-Mbiwa were handed out yellow cards, and Messi must consider himself lucky to have escaped a red card.
The four time Ballon D’Or winner has always been praised for his calm demeanour. However, the recent criticism that he’s been subjected to – following the Copa America finals loss against Chile – might have played a part in the striker losing his cool. The specifics behind the altercation between the two are not yet known.
Ivan Rakitic also scored a rocket in the second half to seal the win for FC Barcelona.