Barcelona star Lionel Messi asked referee Antonio Mateu why he sent Jordi Alba off against Espanyol at the weekend - and received a surprisingly frank admission in return.
Alba was sent off for dissent during Saturday’s 2-0 win at Cornellà-El Prat, much to the confusion of his Barcelona teammates.
Messi argued that Alba did not deserve a second yellow card in quick succession - and Mateu’s reply will no doubt come as a major surprise to the Barcelona staff.
"You're probably right Leo,” the referee was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper Marca. “However, protesting every decision I make really p***** me off.
“Do me a favour. You know it makes me nervous.”
Barcelona go marching on
It’s unclear what Alba may have said to Mateu, but the referee is entitled to send a player off if he feels a player has stepped out of line with his comments.
Barcelona still went on to secure all three points from the match, despite the man disadvantage for 35 minutes, with the goals coming from Neymar and Messi.
Luis Enrique’s men followed that result up with an emphatic 6-0 demolition of Getafe on Tuesday night, with the irrepressible Messi scoring his 37th and 38th La Liga goals of the campaign.
Real Madrid breathing down their rivals' neck
Real Madrid remain two points behind the league leaders following their win over Almeria on Wednesday evening and it promises to be a frantic race to the title.
Barcelona have games against doomed Cordoba, David Moyes’ Real Soeiedad, La Liga champions Atletico Madrid and Deportivo left to play.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, face a difficult trip to Sevilla this weekend before another tough fixture against Valencia at the Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side finish the campaign with matches against Espanyol and neighbours Getafe.
Who will win La Liga this season: Barcelona or Real Madrid? Have your say in the comments below!
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