Lionel Messi isn’t just the world’s best football player.
He’s also good at the art of trash-talking.
The Barcelona star was involved in a war of words with Espanyol defender Alvaro Gonzalez during the second leg of their Copa del Rey round-of-16 clash on Wednesday.
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Gonzalez has revealed exactly what was said between the pair after Messi responded to a foul by the Spaniard.
“Leo was criticising me for some things, and I some others,” he told reporters, according to FourFourTwo. “I asked him if he thinks I will hurt him, and he said yes.
“He told me that I was bad, and I told him he was short. But both accepted it, laughed, and left it at that.”
The bad-tempered behaviour of last week’s first leg - in which Espanyol had two players sent off and Barcelona’s Luis Suarez was handed a two-match suspension for sparking a post-game confrontation - spoiled over into sections of the Espanyol crowd in the return fixture.
Gerard Pique, who mocked Barcelona’s opponents for failing to fill their stadium, was a target of much of the abuse, Espanyol fans unfurling several banners showing hurtful messages about the defender and his wife, Shakira.
One of the messages read: “Shakira is everybody’s”.
But Gonzalez was quick to brush off his exchange with Messi as playful banter.
“There’s no need to make a big deal, what happens on the pitch stays there, and that’s it.
“The best thing about these derbies is the healthy rivalry we have.”
Munir El Haddadi scored twice for Barcelona in a 2-0 win - 6-1 on aggregate - as the reigning Copa del Rey winners progressed to the quarter-finals for the sixth straight season.