Fans feared for Lionel Messi after the Barcelona maestro suffered severe treatment from Villarreal midfielder Manu Trigueros, who received a red card for a lunge in the teams’ La Liga encounter.
After hosts Villarreal lost 2-1 and watched the game, Trigueros went too far trying to win the ball in the 66th minute.
After initially making contact and hurling the ball away from number 10 in Barcelona, Trigueros followed with an outstretched leg and made contact with Messi’s lower shin.
While the Villarreal man may not have had malicious intent, Messi and Trigueros have undoubtedly been tasked with his marching orders by referee Carlos del Cerro Grande
After the treatment, Messi was able to dust himself off and move on as the hosts were forced to play the rest of the game with 10 men at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Online fans feared Messi would be targeted for the kind of rough treatment he can often face as Barcelona’s main threat – some claim the hasty challenge could have ended the 33-year-old star’s season.
“Messi has now got a slap in the face and a possible broken leg – and that’s only in the last five minutes!” said a twitter account.
“Still, he just gets up and carries on. Please don’t tell me that he can’t deal with ‘physicality’ elsewhere. “
Another simply added, “What a dangerous device.”
Messi has now received a slap in the face and a possible broken leg – and only in the last five minutes! Still, he just gets up and carries on. Please don’t tell me that he can’t deal with “physicality” elsewhere.
– TalkFCB © (@talkfcb_) April 25, 2021
Messi was again on target less than 10 minutes later when he was pushed by Villarreals Pau Torres after hitting his man on the right and pushing dangerously into the box. Pau was given a yellow for this violation.
At the start of the game, Villarreal had taken the lead from Nigerian youngster Samuel Chukwueze in the 26th minute when he scored a pass against Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and crossed the finish line from a tight angle.
To keep up with La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, Barcelona recovered almost immediately with a quick brace from French striker Antoine Griezmann, putting them 2-1 ahead.
Although the opposition had mostly dipped to 10 men in the second half, Barca couldn’t let the extra man count but still scored crucial three points.
With 71 points, Ronald Koeman’s men were on par with Real Madrid in the table, just two points behind leaders Atletico.
Barca and Atleti have both played 32 games while Zinedine Zidane’s defending champions have played one more.
Perhaps only important to Barcelona and their title challenge, Talisman Messi emerged unscathed from the 90 minutes that could have been harmful to the Argentine star.
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