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Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique Debate 'Rehearsed' Goal in UCL Win over PSV

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

LEGANES, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26:  Leo Messi (R) of FC Barcelona speaks with Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona prior to the La Liga match between CD Leganes and FC Barcelona at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on September 26, 2018 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has contradicted Gerard Pique's claims that the latter's goal in the 2-1 win over PSV on Wednesday was rehearsed, saying the defender lied about the supposed free-kick routine.

Pique deflected home a free-kick from Messi and told Sport's Angels Fabregues after the game that it was something they had been working on: "It was a rehearsed move. We practice it a lot and it came off perfectly."

But Messi, who also got on the scoresheet, did not back up Pique's story in an interview with Movistar (h/t Fabregues): "It wasn't rehearsed. That's a lie! It was a poorly taken free-kick. Pique was there, and the goal was a little lucky."

Messi had already opened the scoring when his tame effort found its way through the crowd inside the penalty box, handing Pique the opportunity to turn home. Luuk de Jong's consolation goal couldn't deny Barcelona their fourth win in five Champions League contests this term.

Blaugrana manager Ernesto Valverde was the first to dismiss Pique's comments after the contest, per ESPN's Samuel Marsden:

Samuel Marsden @samuelmarsden

@ricardorosety Valverde oblivious, mind. "If Gerard says that, then it's been worked on, although I didn't know about it..." he laughed.

The 31-year-old isn't known for his goalscoring exploits, as he hasn't netted more than five goals in a season since 2015. 

Messi, on the other hand, became the Champions League's top scorer for a single team on Wednesday, passing longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo and his 105 goals for Real Madrid:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Lionel Messi (106) has now scored more Champions League goals for a single club than anyone else in the competition's history. 🇦🇷 Lionel Messi (106) 🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo (105) Just Messi doing Messi things. 🐐 https://t.co/lWv8P1WXeJ

The Argentinian wasn't aware he was about to break the record before the match: "I found out recently. I wasn't aware of it, but I am happy to learn about the statistic and happy to win another game."

The 31-year-old and his team-mates locked up the top position in Group B with the win and will face Tottenham Hotspur at home in their final group-stage outing.

While there will be little at stake for the Blaugrana―apart from their unbeaten record in the competition―Spurs will have to equal Inter Milan's performance against PSV to advance.

Messi and Pique may well sit out that contest, as it comes just days after what could be a physical Catalan derby against Espanyol.