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Barcelona

Lionel Messi almost refused to swap shirts against Man Utd after controversial incident


Lionel Messi is known for always keeping his cool on the pitch, but the Barcelona icon once almost refused to swap shirts with Manchester United youngster Scott McTominay after an incident during a match.

The incident occurred when Barcelona travelled to Old Trafford for a Champions League tie back in 2019.

The match took place in the quarter-finals of the competition, and a Luke Shaw own goal sealed the win for Barca.

But during the match, Messi received a bloody nose after Chris Smalling caught him with a rogue elbow in the middle of the Barca half when going up for a header.

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Lionel Messi suffered a bloodied nose after taking an elbow to the face
Lionel Messi suffered a bloodied nose after taking an elbow to the face

But afterwards, when McTominay went to ask for Messi’s shirt – through Sergio Romero – the six-time Ballon d’Or winner thought it was him who had clattered him.

Speaking to ESPN, McTominay explained how he had to urge Romero to explain the incident properly.

“I’ve got his shirt,” he said to ESPN.

Chris Smalling caught Lionel Messi in the face with an elbow
Chris Smalling caught Lionel Messi in the face with an elbow

“So when we played against him for Barcelona, Chris Smalling elbowed him and he’s got blood coming out of his nose.

“But he thought it was me!

“I said to Sergio Romero ‘Sergio, please can you ask Messi if I can have his shirt?’

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“Sergio’s come back and said ‘he thinks you were the one who elbowed him on the halfway line’.

“I had to say ‘no, no, no, tell him it wasn’t me! Make sure I get that shirt because that’s going in my bedroom’.

“He knows it wasn’t me. Sorry, Chrissy, but he was the one who roughed him up a bit.”





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