Barcelona defender Jordi Alba has rejected claims he made an offensive gesture towards the Real Madrid fans in the midst of an action-packed El Clasico at the weekend.
The Spanish left-back was accused of showing his middle finger in close proximity to the Madrid fans, but he later explained he raised his finger to show his support for his teammate Lionel Messi, who he still considers to be the best player in the world.
"My finger? I didn’t make a rude gesture toward the Real Madrid fans," Alba proclaimed.
"I pointed out that Leo is number one, because he is and they’re unfairly criticising him.
"At no point did I flip them the finger. I didn’t raise my finger to offend, but to acknowledge Messi."
Alba went on to state his belief that the result was harsh on Tito Vilanova's side, and that Barca were unfairly denied a chance to equalise from the spot, only to have their penalty appeals waved away by the referee.
"It was an evenly-matched game that should have ended in a draw," he added.
"The penalty on Adriano in the final minute was very clear. A draw would have been the fairest result, but hey, that’s life."
Alba is not too downhearted after the defeat, as the Catalans remain 12 points clear of their closest rivals Atletico Madrid and 13 points clear of Real in the race for the La Liga title.
He added: "We played better than in previous games, with more possession.
"We leave without a point but we feel ok. We have a big lead over our rivals in the league."
Barcelona started the season well but have come unstuck of late and face the very real prospect of being dumped out of the Champions League by AC Milan.
Having already lost to Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-finals, Barcelona's trophy hopes lay solely on securing the La Liga title.
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