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Lionel Messi, Mikel Arteta Argument Reported After Manchester City vs. Barcelona

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2016

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona reacts at the end of the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester City FC and FC Barcelona at Etihad Stadium on November 1, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta reportedly called Barcelona star Lionel Messi an “arseh--e” in the tunnel after the two teams met in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

That’s according to La Sexta (h/t AS), who have stated Arteta, a former Blaugrana player, and Messi were involved in a fiery exchange after City’s 3-1 triumph at the Etihad Stadium.

“What are you waiting for? Go and get changed, arseh--e,” is what Arteta is alleged to have said to Messi on the way to the changing rooms. In turn, the Barca man reportedly responded with “idiot, come over here, don't run off and hide.”

Arteta (front right) is said to have taken aim at Messi.
Arteta (front right) is said to have taken aim at Messi.Michael Steele/Getty Images

While reports have surfaced about a potential dispute between the pair, in the aftermath City stars have sought to play down the significance of the incident. 

“It was nothing, nothing happened,” City striker and Messi’s Argentina team-mate Sergio Aguero said, per AS. “I couldn't hear what was said. I saw Leo say something, but he didn't say anything to me about when we chatted about other things later on.”

Additionally, midfielder Fernandinho released the following statement on social media, denying that he was involved in the exchange:

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Fernandinho @fernandinho

Clarifying statement https://t.co/1He6EcpJ8z

According to Ken Lawrence of the Sun, City cleared Arteta of any wrongdoing with the following bulletin: “Manchester City and Mikel Arteta would like to make it clear that Mikel did nothing to provoke an incident with Lionel Messi.”

According to Mike Keegan of the Daily Mail, the furore surrounding the incident has been somewhat overblown:

Mike Keegan @MikeKeegan_DM

Fascinating to go into presser and hear visiting media refer to Barca as 'we'. Also, told Messi 'tunnel outrage' story is nonsense.

On the field Messi actually opened the scoring for Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium, adding the finishing touches to a fine counter-attack. However, City came roaring back in style, with two goals from Ilkay Gundogan on either side of a Kevin de Bruyne free-kick giving them a memorable 3-1 win.

The win for City shook up the standings in Group C. Barca remain top of the pile on nine points despite their defeat, although they are just two points ahead of the Premier League side after Week 4. Borussia Monchengladbach are a further three back on City, while Celtic are bottom of the pile on two points.

Messi has cut a fiery figure in recent weeks.
Messi has cut a fiery figure in recent weeks.David Ramos/Getty Images

Although he’s been in fine form lately, Messi has been in a spiky mood too. Indeed, in Barcelona’s 3-2 win at Valencia last month, he berated the home supporters after a bottle was tossed at the celebrating Blaugrana stars, per Rik Sharma of the Daily Mirror.

Arteta was appointed to the City coaching staff by new manager Pep Guardiola in the summer having hung up his boots. After coming through the Barcelona youth setup, he enjoyed spells with Rangers, Real Sociedad, Everton and Arsenal; he won the FA Cup twice with the Gunners in a five-year spell at the club.

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