Sergio Ramos Says He 'Didn't Mean to Catch' Lionel Messi with Forearm in Clasico

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2019

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) argues with Real Madrid's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 2, 2019. (Photo by CURTO DE LA TORRE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CURTO DE LA TORRE/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has said he "didn't mean" to catch Barcelona's Lionel Messi with a flailing forearm during the Clasico showdown between the two teams on Saturday.

Barcelona won the match 1-0 thanks to Ivan Rakitic's first-half goal and were largely in control at the Santiago Bernabeu. One of the main flashpoints in the game saw Messi and Ramos face off just before half-time, as the Madrid man caught his rival flush in the face with his arm.

Per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC, speaking to television after the game Ramos said he had no intention to hurt Messi, although the Barcelona man did not see it that way:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Ramos on TV “I didn’t mean to catch Messi, but he took it badly.”

As these images illustrate, Messi was far from pleased with Ramos after the incident took place:

B/R Football @brfootball

Don’t make him angry. https://t.co/5NXm9OfghY

Given the reputation Ramos holds in the game, it's difficult to say with any great certainty the tangle between him and Messi was accidental.

After all, last month the Real Madrid skipper picked up the 25th red card of his career. Throughout the years he has also been renowned for being ultra-aggressive on the field and physical against key opposition players.

In this instance, the moment was over quickly and the referee chose not to punish Ramos via a VAR review. 

Football writer Kizito Madu said the Real and Spain defender has earned his billing as one of the biggest villains in the sport:

Zito @_Zeets

Ramos does the things he does, and he's the best villain this sport will ever know

Aside from this controversial moment with Messi, Ramos endured a tough night overall.

While there were some trademark tackles and clearances from Ramos, his awareness and reactions were found wanting in the 1-0 loss. Rakitic's goal came from the Croatian making a run behind the Los Blancos defender that wasn't tracked.

That goal meant the Madrid captain saw his team lose to Barcelona for the second time in four days at home; Saturday's defeat means the Blaugrana, who are on course for the La Liga title, now lead their great rivals by 12 points in the top flight.

There was also a historical significance to the win, as the Catalan club now have more victories in this historic fixture than Madrid:

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

CLASICOS IN HISTORY: Barcelona 96 Real Madrid 95 Barcelona are ahead for the first time in 87 years.

In recent years, it's at this point in the season when Ramos has found his form and helped Madrid finish the campaign strongly. His influence has been massive in Los Blancos winning the Champions League in four of the last five years.

But this season, he's been a long way below his best and has plenty of improving to do if he's to provide a talismanic presence once again in a trophy-winning Madrid team.