Lionel Messi issued a stern response to former Barcelona team-mate Antonio Sanabria – who was forced to deny spitting at the icon.
Argentina secured a 1-0 win over their South American rivals in World Cup qualifying during the early hours of Friday morning – as tensions threatened to boil over. Just five minutes were left on the clock as Messi clashed with Sanabria, before spit flew in the direction of the 36-year-old’s back.
The 27-year-old, who spent five years in the Barcelona academy and trained with Messi and the first-team, denied the spit was at the forward – but not before the Inter Miami man had his say post-match.
To TyC Sports, Messi hit back: “My team-mates told me about it in the locker room. It is better to leave the issue alone.”
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner added: “I don’t know who this guy is and I don’t want to give him importance either, because if he gets that he’s going to go out and talk everywhere and he becomes known.”
In response, Sanabria said that he didn’t spit at Messi, just in his general direction, with the camera angle making it look worse.
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Sanabria has impressed with Torino following permanent spells with Sassuolo, Roma, and Real Betis.
He has made 29 appearances for his country and scored two goals, with Messi crowned a World Cup winner with his nation back in December.
The Inter Miami man shows no signs of slowing down after choosing not to retire in Qatar, hitting the post twice in their 1-0 victory.