Spanish champions FC Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre played down the seriousness of his team’s star striker Lionel Messi’s clash with Italian club AS Roma defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, claiming that such incidents are “normal” in football.
Messi reacted angrily to something said by the Roma defender during the first half of Wednesday’s friendly at Camp Nou stadium, thrusting his head towards the French international before grabbing his opponent by the throat.
Both players were booked for their role in the altercation but there have been claims that Messi was the aggressor and should have been give a red card.
“It is what happens in football games. I think it is anecdotal and there is no reason for giving this chapter more importance,” Mestre was quoted as saying by goal.com on Thursday.
“It happens and it will keep happening in the future. It is normal when you play football,” he said.
Messi scored once to help Barcelona win 3-0 in the match.