Chris Smalling’s gnarled treatment of Lionel Messi still rankles the Argentine. In the aftermath of Barcelona’s quarter-final triumph , their talisman refused to shake hands with hi.
The Barca legend suffered a bloodied nose after a particularly harsh challenge by Smalling. According to manager Ernesto Valverde, it took him a good two days to recover. While Messi was relatively subdued at Old Trafford, he was in sparkling form on his home patch.
At the final whistle, when Smalling approached to shake his hands, Messi ignored the gesture instead responding with a brief tap on his back, before moving onto embrace other players.
— Mike .K. (@uksupermike) April 16, 2019
The incident might come as a surprise to Chris Smalling who claimed to have spoken to Messi after the bruising first leg encounter. The Express had previously reported of their brief conversation after the first leg and all seemed well. The Argentine’s curt response, however, indicates otherwise.
Messi was imperious last night, scoring two goals and wreaking havoc with his darting runs and incisive passing. While United harboured vague hopes of overturning the deficit, when in this mood, the Argentine proved that he can eviscerate oppositions at will.