Various media outlets in Spain and England reported that the Argentine magician was involved in a tunnel bust-up with an unnamed Manchester City player after full-time at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City’s memorable 3-1 win over Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium was an enthralling spectacle for all the neutral watchers, but it seems there was even more drama after the final whistle was blown.
The incident was first reported by Barcelona based newspaper Mundo Deportivo, who claimed a Manchester City player and Lionel Messi were involved in a tunnel spat which resulted in the Argentine losing his cool and sparking a war of words.
Mundo Deportivo suggested that the unnamed Manchester City instigated the feud by insulting Lionel Messi, prompting the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to respond furiously: “Fool, come here and show your face!”
Spanish radio station Cadena SER carried a similar report claiming the Barcelona forward was so angered by the insult that he, along with Barcelona delegate Carles Naval, entered the Manchester City dressing room in search of the culprit.
Lionel Messi only calmed down after intervention by his international teammate and close friend Sergio Aguero. The Manchester City strike played down the reported altercation, suggesting there was nothing serious and the Barcelona man was only upset because of the result.
Brazil’s Globoesporte claimed the unidentified City player who had an altercation with Leo was Fernandinho, but the midfielder was quick to deny the report on his twitter and Instagram account, stating it as completely baseless.
Clarifying statement pic.twitter.com/1He6EcpJ8z
— Fernandinho (@fernandinho) November 2, 2016
Now, various media outlets from England and Spain are claiming it was actually former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta who ignited the dispute.
In an exclusive, The Sun states Mikel Arteta, who joined City as an assistant to Pep Guardiola in the summer, celebrated excessively at full-time, shouting and fist-pumping in the tunnel. This provoked an angry response from Messi, who asked City’s assistant coach to celebrate inside their dressing room and not in the tunnel.
Catalan media outlet Cadena Cope corroborated the report, claiming it was indeed Mikel Arteta who provoked Messi. Their report suggested Messi was waiting for the referee in the tunnel to complain about an incident when Arteta allegedly said to him: “Move your ass to the locker room, silly boy.”
Not one to take any prisoners, Messi replied, “Fool, come here and face me!”, but Arteta quickly went to his dressing room and did not return. On being asked about the incident, Manchester City flatly denied such a bust-up taking place, while Barcelona have offered no comment.