Lionel Messi narrowly escapes being sent off after headbutting Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in friendly
Roma knew they were in for a frustrating evening at the Nou Camp chasing the shadows of the European champions and after going 1-0 down to Neymar’s opener, French international Mapou lost his temper with Messi leaning his head in towards the Barcelona No 10 and making clear contact.
Messi responded by butting the French defender and grabbing him by the throat. The Spanish referee Javier Estrada Fernandez could easily have sent both players off – Mapou for the original aggression and Messi for the retaliation but instead showed the pair yellow cards and the game continued 11 against 11.
Messi has never been sent off for Barcelona, but seemed to retaliate as the two players went head-to-head.
He went on to score as the Catalan club continued their preparations for their La Liga title defence.
They start the season against Athletic Bilbao on 23 August.
Former Newcastle defender Yanga-Mbiwa was also booked as other players intervened.
Messi’s only red card came on his international debut when he retaliated two minutes after coming on as a substitute for Argentina against Hungary