Barcelona won the Joan Gamper Trophy after defeating AS Roma 3-0 at Camp Nou on Wednesday night. Lionel Messi made his preseason debut, scoring a goal in the process. Everything was going well, until Messi went absolutely nuts:
Roma defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa fouled Messi, then clearly said something and leaned his head in to force a retaliation, which happened as the Blaugrana star and captain in this match delivered a clear headbutt. That would have been fine, but things got worse when Messi grabbed Yanga-Mbiwa's throat and shoved him. Since it's a friendly, the referee decided to let it go and nobody got sent off.
I'm sure Messi heard something he didn't enjoy and things can happen in the heat of the game and he sure had his reasons, but that's completely unacceptable. That's not the Leo we know and love, and that's not a good attitude. One thing has to be clear: just because Messi is the best footballer we have ever seen, he's still a footballer, and these things are not to be done on a football field.
Put it this way: what would you say if it was Neymar? Perception is everything. And Messi is wrong. Let's hope we don't see it again.