Football

Bartra plays down Lionel Messi bust-up fears

Barcelona team spirit is as strong as ever. (©GettyImages)
Barcelona team spirit is as strong as ever. (©GettyImages).

Barcelona defender Marc Bartra insists he has no issues with Lionel Messi, despite reports of a training-ground bust-up between the two players at the start of the season.

In an interview with Spanish publication Marca, the 21-year-old played down any possible conflict with the Argentine star, who criticised the La Masia graduate for going in for a challenge too hard.

"It has been blown out of all proportion," said the Spanish stopper. "The subject has now been closed, and there's no point talking about it any further. Everything is fine and there are no problems. Nothing happened."

Bartra is one of four youth team players promoted to Tito Vilanova's first-team this season, and despite Barcelona's extensive injury list - particularly in defence - the youngster has had to be patient for an opportunity to impress at Camp Nou.

In fact, his first start didn't come until Barca's recent Champions League home clash against Celtic, the team that they will face at Celtic Park tonight.

"Every player wants to play and get time on the pitch," he explained. "But what's most important is to have a clear understanding of where you are and, once you know that, you know what players there are around you and what you can do well.

"I knew that my chance could come at any moment, and when that chance comes you need to make the most of it."

The interview concluded when Bartra was asked if, given the chance, he would vote for himself to win the Ballon d'Or, as Cristiano Ronaldo intimated earlier this week, prompting more praise for his team-mate Messi.

"Everyone has their own opinion. Cristiano is a good player, but over and above him there's another great player and we have him in our team.

"We have a number of great players actually, but I'll always believe Leo to be the best."

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