Chris Smalling says Lionel Messi knew their clash 'was an accident' after speaking to him

Manchester United v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg

Chris Smalling wasn't kidding when he said he was raring to go against Lionel Messi in Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona.

It took the Englishman just 30 minutes to wipe out Barca's star man on Wednesday night, crashing through the back of him to win the ball.

Smalling's shoulder caught Messi in the face to leave him in a heap on the floor. As he got up, it became clear the Argentine's eye was bruised and nose was bleeding.

Messi struggled to breath after the clash according to Spanish reports, while a post-match medical examination found he had suffered a small deviation of the nasal septum.

Fortunately for Barcelona, Messi has been cleared to play against Huesca this weekend, though it's likely Ernesto Valverde will rest him ahead of next week's second leg.

Smalling would have been public enemy number one with Barcelona fans had he seriously injured Messi, but the 29-year-old claims the clash was an accident.

And he thinks Messi knows it was too.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday, Smalling said he had a "brief chat" with Messi after the game at Old Trafford.


"We spoke afterwards. We had a brief chat and shook hands," he explained. "He knew it was an accident. I didn't realise at the time that I'd actually caught him like that."

Smalling claims he also spoke to Suarez, adding: "Suarez [came up to me] after the game as well. We had a good tussle and he just shook my hand afterwards and said 'good luck'.

"It's nice when you can have that battle on the pitch and then there's respect after the game because, ultimately, you are just trying to do your best."

Manchester United v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg

We'll take your word for it, Chris.

Messi will undoubtedly want to exact revenge in next week's second leg at the Camp Nou by knocking United out of the Champions League.

He had a quiet game by his usual standards on Wednesday, but Messi playing at home is a whole nother story.

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