Lionel Messi is widely rumoured in Spain to have fumed and acted “crazy” during and following Barcelona‘s 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in the Copa Del Ray recently.
Major Spanish paper Marca have reported that the Real Madrid squad are angry with the 2012 World Football of the Year‘s actions and behavior during and after the ‘El Classico‘ clash. Messi had been seen clearly getting more frustrated than usual, but for the likes Madrid’s Xabi Alonso, he decided to take action and confront Messi multiple times.
I am not out on the witch hunt here, but reports in Spain (albeit quiet globally perhaps) suggest Messi has acted out of his typical character. Video footage seems to show the 25-year old spitting in the direction of the Real Madrid bench, although it is not clear whether he coincidentally did so or whether it was aimed directly there with intent.
But it didn’t end there. It is also now been confirmed by the Spanish press that the Argentine went on a search of Madrid’s defender, Alvaro Arbeloa in the car park after the game. Messi apparently then verbally attacked the Spaniard with insults – although, please keep in mind these are reported as nothing too serious. Messi was then taken away by a Barcelona official to the club’s coach.
Various Spanish sources are also stating that the Barcelona forward replied to a Madrid player in the changing rooms “What are you looking at? Shut up. You’re just Mourinho’s puppet”.
Real Madrid’s forward Jose Callejon said; “I think that waiting an hour and a half to have a go at another player is just not on. I saw how Messi called Karanka ‘Mourinho’s puppet’ because I was right behind him.”
“Maybe during a game it’s okay to get a bit hot under the collar and say things that we later regret, but to have a go at another player in front of his wife after the match is not right. The good guys aren’t all that good, and the bad guys aren’t all that bad. Some things are just going too far. Out on the pitch, in the heat of the moment, things can be said that stay on the pitch, but never said once we’ve calmed down”,
It’d be easy to get carried away with the claims and go along with Callejon’s views and that this “is going too far”. But you should remember that there seems to be an unrest and lack of trust in Real Madrid’s camp currently that makes me think twice before believing the accusations.
Jose Mourinho‘s teams in the past haven’t necessarily tried to blatantly distract or make false claims, but they have riled up and played mind games at times. Madrid are in a slight bit of desperation right now; Mourinho doesn’t look like he’ll have a long term future in Spain’s capital, and divisions in the club are becoming ever clearer. For me, hearing the Madrid players going on about Messi’s actions several days after the game reflects the almost unprofessional mentality they seem to have adopted in recent times.
They’ve been poor, they were poor in the second half, and now have to cancel out Barcelona’s away goal in the second leg, at the Nou Camp. They’re 3rd in La Liga, 15 points behind Barcelona and have more than a tough task ahead if they want to win the Champions League for the first time since 2001.
Ok, Messi may well have done wrong, I’m not defending nor accusing him, but Madrid’s reaction seems to be that of little boys at times; which has been the case too much this season.
If the claims regarding Messi’s behavior are true, then yes it’s not pleasing but it’s also not outrageous. It doesn’t exactly sound reminiscent of the early 2000’s Manchester United and Arsenal rivalries. There have been no reports of physical abuse or threats.
If these claims are proven true, and seen as out of line, then Messi will at worst receive a charge of some sort. But for now, the two top teams in Spain, Madrid especially, seem to lack a togetherness in their squad whilst looking uneasy.
By Stowe Gregory – @stowegregory