Lionel Messi: Barcelona star was told by referee to ‘show respect’ to Liverpool

  • Rob Swan
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Because of what happened in the second leg at Anfield, it’s easy to forget that Barcelona outclassed Liverpool in the first leg of the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals six days earlier.

Former Liverpool star Luis Suarez put the hosts 1-0 up in the first half before Lionel Messi appeared to kill the tie with two goals towards the end of the match.

The legendary forward doubled Barça’s advantage with a close-range finish before making it 3-0 with one of the best free-kicks of his career.

Messi notched his 600th goal by benching an inch-perfect free-kick past Alisson, one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers, from fully 30 yards.

Everybody presumed that goal had just fired Barça through to the 2019 Champions League final. Well, everybody apart from Jurgen Klopp and his players, that is.

We all remember where we were when Liverpool completed their extraordinary comeback in the second leg.

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Anfield was rocking as a brace apiece from Divock Origi and substitute Georginio Wijnaldum earned Barcelona a remarkable 4-0 victory.

Liverpool went on to lift European Cup for the sixth time in their history, defeating Tottenham 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid.

Some interesting footage has now emerged from the first leg involving Messi.

After scoring his famous free-kick, the Argentine understandably took his time to celebrate with his teammates and the fans, rather than rush back to his own half.

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The longer the clock ticked down to full-time, the less time Liverpool had of scoring an away goal.

Any player in his position would have done the same thing.

However, referee Bjorn Kuipers was unhappy with the amount of time Messi was taking to get back into position and called on the South American to show Liverpool more respect.

The Dutch referee can be heard saying to Messi in a clip from a new UEFA documentary: “Messi! Why? Come on! Show them some respect! Go!

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“Every time, you do it.

“Come on! Why do you do it?”

Messi tried to plead his innocence to Kuipers as he ambled back, but the ref was having none of it.

“Go now!” he added.

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Suarez heard this and stuck up for his pal, throwing his arm up in disgust at Kuipers’ blunt order.

You can watch the footage here…

It’s interesting that Kuipers says Messi does this “every time” he scores for Barcelona.

Whether it’s something all match officials have noted about the six-time Ballon d’Or winner - or if Kuipers is alone with this opinion - is unclear.

Little did Messi know then that Liverpool were about to bring him crashing back down to earth with a hefty bump the following week.

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