Manchester City assistant coach, Mikel Arteta, is reportedly the reason behind the bust-up at the Etihad as the Sky Blues defeated Barcelona 3-1.
In the wake of the defeat on Tuesday during the UEFA Champions League game, Lionel Messi and City players exchanged strong words at the stadium’s tunnel. Investigations reveal that the former Arsenal skipper was the chief culprit behind the incident.
Spanish radio station, La Cope claims that Pep Guardiola’s assistant provoked the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. The report says that while Messi was waiting just outside the referee’s room after the game, Arteta said: “Move along stupid, get yourself in your dressing room.”
Messi, who was already disappointed and even fuming due to the loss, reacted, shouting: “Come over here and say that to my face, stupid.”
Reports also point fingers at City’s Fernandinho and a section of City low profile backroom staff. As the rumours of Fernandinho’s involvement made the round, the player quickly disassociated himself.
“I just want to say that the rumours that are circulating in the media are absurd: I didn’t even have contact with any Barcelona players or technical staff after the game,” the player posted on his personal Twitter page.
“Instigating and provoking are not in my nature, bearing in mind that I put a lot of importance on showing respect both on and off the pitch, regardless of the opposition or player in question,” he added.
Sergio Aguero played the peacemaker after the bust-up as he calmed his international teammate. The Argentine also downplayed the incident when asked later on.
“Whenever you lose, you’re not happy. I saw him there, he was feeling bad. I know him well enough to know when he’s bad, when he’s good. But when you lose, nobody’s good,” said Aguero.
“It was nothing serious. I heard something but I don’t know what happened,” he added.