One of the most remarkable things about Lionel Messi is the fact his character hasn’t been affected by either global fame or fortune.
The Argentine is still the same shy, humble, mild-mannered lad that first burst onto the scene during the mid-2000s.
He’s matured as an individual, of course, and is now much more of a leader on the pitch - but ultimately he’s still the same person.
Messi has rarely been in trouble for his on-pitch conduct over the past 13 years but there have been a few incidents of bad behaviour over the years.
He was sent off just 40 seconds into his Argentina debut in 2005 for an elbow - the only red card of his career, incidentally - and was banned for four matches last year after insulting an assistant referee during a World Cup qualifier against Chile.
Messi, like almost every other footballer, has also had various bust-ups with opponents down the years - mostly borne out of frustration because they haven’t stopped fouling him.
On the whole, though, his behaviour on the pitch has been exemplary.
Messi clashes with referee during Chelsea match
However, Messi is in a position where he can probably get away with saying more to referees and assistants than most other players because of his status as arguably the greatest footballer of all time.
If he feels he’s been wronged, he won’t keep quiet.
And that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night during the Champions League clash between Barcelona and Chelsea at the Camp Nou.
Towards the end of the first half, referee Damir Skomina told Messi to be quiet after the Argentine protested against one of his decisions.
What Messi said to the referee when told to shut up
And now we know, thanks to Marca, what Messi said back to the Slovenian match official.
"You don't speak badly to me," Messi said after being told to “turn it down”.
"I didn't disrespect you, did I?"
Most players would have been booked for responding
Most players would have received a yellow card for having the audacity to respond after being told to shut up but Messi, who had a point, can clearly get away with more than his colleagues.
The 30-year-old, who already has a goal and an assist to his name by this point, went on to score his second goal of the match in the second half, ensuring his side will be in the draw for the Champions League quarter-finals.
Does this prove that it’s one rule for Messi and another for every other player? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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