Football

Messi: No problem with Villa

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Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has dismissed concerns of a bust-up between Lionel Messi and David Villa after the pair were spotted rowing in Saturday's 2-0 victory against Granada.

The Catalan side were frustrated by the La Liga minnows' dogged defending, before a late rally from second-half substitute Xavi Hernandez broke the deadlock three minutes before the final whistle.

Villa - starting his first game since his return from injury - was seen being reprimanded by Messi in the 44th minute for not making a pass into the middle quickly enough. The two traded words for the next twenty seconds, and the Spanish striker was substituted soon after the interval.

Vilanova, though, refused to read too much into the heated exchange, instead choosing to focus on the manner of the victory, which maintained Barcelona's perfect start to the season.

"There is nothing to gather [from what happened between Villa and Messi]," he stated in his post-match press conference. "Whoever plays football knows discussions are a normality, and part of the game.

"Such occurrences are common signs that a team is alive. Not exchanging views for betterment would honestly suggest worse. What was important was to make it 15 points out of 15."

Messi also spoke to Barca TV to diffuse speculation of a feud, and reassure fans there was no hard feelings between himself and his attacking team-mate, Villa.

"These things happen in games," said the Argentine. "You want to score the first goal so that everything is then easier. It is something normal. It also happens at training, but people do not see it as it is not televised.

"I have no problem with el Guaje [Villa], just the opposite. My history with him is spectacular. This dressing-room is spectacular.

"Do not look for problems where there are none. We got angry because we want the best for the team and tension makes you react like that."

Topics:
European News
Football
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