Lionel Messi has admitted that Filipe Luis’ red-card tackle during Barcelona's clash against Atletico Madrid back in January was 'unusual' but has insisted that the defender didn't mean to cause any harm.
During the feisty clash at the Camp Nou, which saw Diego Simeone's side end the game with nine men, Luis clattered Messi and was dismissed from the field of play.
Following the tackle, Luis was set to receive a three-match ban, but he managed to get that down to one.
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And Messi clearly doesn't hold a grudge against his Atletico rival, claiming that it wasn't made in 'bad faith'.
“It’s unusual to take a boot so high in the knee,” he told El Grafico, as per Football Espana.
“It was something which happened without any intent to cause harm, but it’s clear that the rules don’t allow these excesses.
“The committee made a decision [on reducing his ban] and I don’t believe [the tackle] was made in bad faith.
“I don’t like to talk about what happens on the pitch. Images show things which are difficult to determine, and you still can’t confirm what was intended in those which are clear, so why create controversy?”
Champions League showdown
Messi and Luis, of course, look set to go head-to-head once again in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Barcelona will begin the two-legged tie as favourites, but Simeone's side will be confident that they can upset the odds once again in Europe's elite competition. In truth, Barcelona would have probably wanted to avoid their La Liga rivals at this stage in the tournament.
Do you agree with Messi's comments on Luis? Have your say below!