What are you looking at? - David Ramos
After a last month's 1-1 draw between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey semifinals, a flurry of accusations arose surrounding Leo Messi and a parking lot run-in with Madrid defender Arbeloa and coach Karanka. Looking ahead to Tuesday's return leg in the Camp Nou, let's review the incident.
Real Madrid and Barcelona played to a 1-1 draw last month at the Santiago Bernabéu, leaving all to be decided Tuesday night in Barcelona. While there were no expulsions or brawls during the match, the game was characteristically heated, and a fresh piece of beef arose between the two rivals, this time revolving around Leo Messi.
According to Marca, after the match Leo Messi sought out Árvelo Arbeloa in the parking area of the Santiago Bernabéu. While the rest of the Blaugrana boarded their bus, Messi—apparently upset with Arbeloa's cynical defending—confronted Arbeloa, who was leaving the stadium in his car with his wife. Messi reportedly called him a "bobo", or "clown". Arbeloa was not reported to have said anything in response.
Perhaps moments later, Messi was also alleged to have insulted Aitor Karanka, second manager of Real Madrid, saying "Tu que coño miras? Callate, muñeco de Mourinho," or, "What the *expletive* are you looking at? Shutup, Mourinho's doll". A member of Barcelona's staff reportedly had to come and drag Messi back to the team bus, where the rest of the squad awaited.
In an ensuing press conference, Jose María Callejon confirmed the report, and said he thought that Messi's actions were a bit "in excess" ("sobre un poco"), especially considering the presence of Árbeloa's pregnant wife. He summed up the incident by saying sometimes "the good ones aren't really that good, and the bad aren't really that bad".
The following day another report was added to Messi's rap sheet: a video allegedly showing the Argentine spitting in the direction of the Real Madrid bench.
Barcelona took a no-comment approach, and the incident has seemingly been all but forgotten. To give an idea as to why Messi might have been upset, here's an example of Arbeloa's defense from the match:
We'll never really know what happened in the Bernabéu parking. On the one hand, it seems very unlikely that Messi—who is by all accounts an upstanding young man and a true sportsman—would go AWOL and hunt down Árbeloa hours after the match. On the other hand, the story seems perhaps too strange and specific to be made-up, especially the "Muñeco de Mourinho" comment (Karanka bobbleheads anyone?).
Whatever the case, we can be sure that both Messi and Arbeloa will be highly motivated for Tuesday's match, and that their personal matchup will be well worth watching all night long.