FC Barcelona

Lionel Messi hosts COVID-breaching barbecue with entire Barcelona squad

Tom Gott
Lionel Messi's good gesture may land him in hot water
Lionel Messi's good gesture may land him in hot water / Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Lionel Messi invited his entire Barcelona squad and their partners round to his house for a barbecue to raise spirits ahead of a nervy run-in, but the party could land them in hot water as it was in breach of COVID-19 regulations.

Ronald Koeman's side have clawed their way back into La Liga's title picture. They currently sit third, two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and level on points with rivals Real Madrid, so the title race looks set to go down to the wire.

Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba
Barcelona are back on track in the title race / Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Barcelona recently blew the chance to go top, instead falling to a shock 2-1 loss at home to Granada, so to try and keep spirits high, Messi held a gathering for the entire squad to psych themselves up for the end of the season. But as noted by ABC, there were a lot more than the legally allowed amount of people in attendance.

Messi did not intentionally breach the guidelines. The barbecue was outside and he did provide each player and their partner with their own table to encourage social distancing, but that's all irrelevant as both La Liga and the Spanish government have banned gatherings of over six people.

Barcelona have argued that they did not breach COVID guidelines as the squad are all part of one big bubble anyway and the players' partners were all kept in their own individual bubbles, but league officials are still expected to open an investigation into the situation.

The Atletico Madrid squad did something similar a few weeks ago, hosting a gathering for the entire squad, but the key difference is that they had alerted both La Liga and the local authorities, who could confirm that all health guidelines would be followed. With Messi's party, everyone was kept in the dark.

There's obviously going to be some drama from this, but it doesn't seem like anyone at the barbecue was worried about that. GOL captured footage of the event which shows the entire squad chanting 'Champions, Champions', suggesting they're feeling pretty confident about their chances of success this season.

Barcelona's title hopes will likely rest on Saturday's meeting with leaders Atletico at Camp Nou. Diego Simeone's side come into the game in mixed form, having won just four of their last nine matches - a run which has opened the door for both Barcelona and Real.

With Celta Vigo, Levante and Eibar left on the fixture list after that, Barcelona will be confident of getting themselves over the line if they can come up with the goods against Atleti.

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