Messi escapes red card for ‘headbutting’ Roma rival

Messi (right) appeared to headbutt Yanga'Mbiwa but only received a yellow card as the La Liga champions won the friendly 3'0. Picture: AFP/Getty

Messi (right) appeared to headbutt Yanga'Mbiwa but only received a yellow card as the La Liga champions won the friendly 3'0. Picture: AFP/Getty

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LIONEL Messi escaped a red card in Barcelona’s friendly win over Roma after he appeared to headbutt an opponent.

The Argentinian forward was shown a yellow card after he grabbed the throat and appeared to headbutt French defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa during the opening 45 minutes of the Gamper Trophy clash at Camp Nou.

Ex-Newcastle stopper Yanga-Mbiwa was also booked for his part in the fracas.

Messi has never been sent off for Barcelona, but appeared to retaliate after Yanga-Mbiwa thrust his head towards the 28-year-old following a flashpoint in the first half.

Messi has been sent off once in his career - the forward was red-carded for retaliation two minutes after coming on as a substitute on his international debut.

The Barca captain later got on the scoresheet along with Neymar and Ivan Rakitic as Luis Enrique’s side racked up a comprehensive 3-0 victory as they continue their preparations for the upcoming La Liga season.

But despite returning late to training after the Copa America, both Neymar and Messi were on top form.

Rumoured Manchester United target Pedro appeared as a second-half substitute but Barcelona’s FIFA-imposed transfer ban meant that there were no cameos for summer signings Arda Turan or Aleix Vidal, who will have to wait until January to don the famous jersey.

Barcelona will play Sevilla in the European Super Cup before the Spanish Super Cup double-header against Athletic Bilbao.

They then face the Basque side on August 23rd at Estadio San Mamés in the league opener.

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