‘Messi thought I elbowed him in the face… but it was Chris Smalling who roughed him up!’: Scott McTominay reveals Lionel Messi initially REFUSED to give him his shirt after being left bloodied in Manchester United’s clash against Barcelona in 2019
- Lionel Messi was often roughed up in Barcelona’s clash with Manchester United
- The superstar found himself bleeding after being accidentally struck in the face
- Believing the blow was from Scott McTominay, Messi refused to give him his top
- Sergio Romero stepped in to clear the tension with McTominay keen for the shirt
Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has recounted his awkward attempt to take home Lionel Messi’s jersey after a Champions League clash in 2019.
The 24-year-old was typically combative at Old Trafford and, despite the hosts narrowly losing out, asked for the shirt, which he planned to display with pride.
Barcelona talisman Messi, however, was angry after being struck in the face – and initially refused to indulge McTominay after believing the collision was with him.
Scott McTominay has recounted his awkward attempt to take home Lionel Messi’s shirt in 2019
Barcelona superstar Messi was struck in the face by Chris Smalling but had blamed McTominay
While speaking to ESPN, Scotland international McTominay revealed his belief that Messi is the best player in the world, ‘100 per cent’.
‘Yeah, Messi, Messi,’ he added. ‘I got his shirt, you know?
‘So, whenever we played against him for Barcelona [in 2019], Chris Smalling elbowed him and he’s got blood coming out of his nose. And he thought it was me.
A bloodied Messi was forced to receive treatment at Old Trafford after taking the heavy blow
‘Because I said to Sergio Romero, “please can you ask Messi to get his shirt?”.
‘Sergio comes back in and said, “Oh, he thinks you were the one who elbowed him on the halfway line”.
‘I said, “No, no, no, no – tell him it wasn’t me, so make sure I get that shirt because that’s going in my bedroom”. So he knows it wasn’t me now.
Believing he was struck by McTominay in midfield, Messi vented his frustration to the referee
‘Sorry Chrissy, but he was the one who roughed him up a bit.’
Messi was on the receiving end of a number of heavy challenges with United looking to assert themselves at home during the quarter-final fixture.
The crunching blow McTominay has referenced took place in midfield when Smalling, now at Roma, leaped in the air and accidentally allowed a hand to fly out.
Barcelona and Messi (R) had the last laugh with Luke Shaw’s own goal steering them to victory
Having been hit, Messi was left with a bloodied face and was forced to undergo treatment from Barcelona’s medical staff before continuing.
Thankfully for McTominay, any confusion over the incident was cleared up with Messi’s Argentina compatriot, Romero, soothing over any bad blood at full-time.
The miscommunication capped off a poor day for McTominay and United, with Barcelona emerging 1-0 victors following an own goal from Luke Shaw.
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