Football

Lionel Messi targeted by Atletico Madrid players

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Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin has admitted to ordering team-mate Miranda to target Lionel Messi's injured thigh, during Wednesday's Spanish Super Cup clash against Barcelona, reports ESPN.

The Argentine forward came off at half-time after aggravating a problem he initially picked up in a Champions League quarter-final first leg match against Paris Saint-Germain back in April.

Footage emerged of the Uruguayan international telling his centre-back partner to focus specifically on kicking Messi in that area, which resulted in a bruise to the femoral biceps tendon.

Godin has been criticised for his unsporting behaviour, and particularly angered Barcelona fans, following news that Messi is set to sit out Saturday's La Liga game against Malaga, as a precaution.

The four-time Ballon d'Or winner could return for next week's second leg at Camp Nou, with the tie delicately poised at 1-1, after David Villa's goal against his former club was cancelled out by summer signing Neymar.

Godin will be sure to get a hostile reception from La Blaugrana supporters, even after he took to the radio to defend his actions as "just part of the game".

"These are football gestures and those who play know what they mean," explained the 27-year-old. "I see that he is touching that part of his leg. I made gestures to my team-mates so that they know to put pressure on."

That committed approach to winning is the main reason for Atletico's recent success under current boss Diego Simeone.

"We go for every ball as if it were the last," Godin added. "That is what has made us winners."

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Topics:
Football
Lionel Messi
Barcelona

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