Messi plays down Villa spat

Lionel Messi has played down a first half spat with teammate David Villa during Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Granada at the Camp Nou.

Messi reacted after Villa failed to lay the ball off to him and the pair were clearly shown by television cameras berating each other as they grew increasingly frustrated with an inability to break down a stubborn Granada defence.

However, Messi described the incident as something that can occur in any game and justified it as the tension of trying to get the first goal.

“I have no problem with El Guaje and people should not look for things that aren’t there,” he told the club’s official television channel Barca TV.

“It also happens in training but there are no cameras there. The fact it happened in a game was a result of the tension we felt in getting the first goal to make things easier.

“It is the character of this team to want to win. We want the best and that shows in tension during matches.”

Barcelona have struggled to break down both Spartak Moscow and Granada in their last two outings, which Messi feels could be the legacy of a tough summer.

“We had a hard pre-season and in the first games you feel the physical work done over six weeks in which you hardly touch the ball.

“In addition, we had a group of players who came back from the European Championships and then had international matches with long journeys.”

The Argentine went on to say that the important thing is to win and if Barca are doing that while not at 100 per cent then there will be better things to come. He also spoke of the decision to leave him on the bench for last week’s win at Getafe.

“I had spent nine days without any decent rest so I spoke to Tito [Vilanova] and he decided to leave me on the bench,” explained Messi.

Tags Camp Nou David Villa Messi