Barcelona notched up an important win in the race for the LaLiga title when they beat Villarreal 2-1 on Sunday, but a lot of the attention was focused on club talisman, Lionel Messi and the rough treatment he received from midfielder, Manu Trigueros.
With hosts Villarreal 2-1 down and chasing the game, Trigueros decided to take matters into his own hands as he lunged into Messi in an attempt to win the ball in the 65th minute. After initially making contact and flicking the ball away from the Barcelona number 10, Trigueros followed through with his leg extended, making contact with Messi’s lower shin.
While there was no malicious intent from Trigueros who was only looking to get his work done on the pitch, he was given his marching orders by referee, Carlos del Cerro Grande. This did not go down well with Barcelona fans who feared that he was being targeted by the opposition players, and made their displeasure known on social media.
"Messi has now taken a whack to the face and a potential leg-breaking tackle – and that’s just in the last five minutes!," one fan wrote, while another commented, "Yet he just gets up and carries on. Please don’t tell me he couldn’t handle the ‘physicality’ elsewhere."
"What a dangerous tackle," a third added.
Messi was again the target less than 10 minutes later when he was shoved by Villarreal’s, Pau Torres after beating his man down the right and dangerously bearing down on the penalty box. Pau was handed a yellow for that infringement.
Despite the rough treatment aimed at him, Messi would be happy with all three points on the night as they moved to level second with Real Madrid and trail league leaders, Atletico Madrid by two games, with an extra game in hand.