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Messi claims ref was desperate to show him a yellow card

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A booking would have meant a suspension for the captain

FC Barcelona v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

In Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Valladolid on Monday, a few different things were accomplished. The most important was that Barcelona closed the gap with first-place Atletico Madrid to a mere point with nine matches left.

The second most important aspect of the match was Lionel Messi escaping without receiving a booking. If the captain was booked, he would be out for El Clasico this weekend.

Messi, chatting it up with Carlos Naval, mentioned at halftime he thought the referee may have been intentionally looking to get him booked.

“He’s desperate to show me a car... ufff, incredible.”

The captain was also captured urging his team-mates on at half-time in the tunnel.

“We have to win this however we can,” he said. “We have to step it up a gear, play with more rhythm.”

Messi | Source

I’m sure this won’t go on to spur the online conspiracy that La Liga refs are in the palm of Real Madrid’s hand. Either way, it’ll be good to have Messi on the pitch this weekend.