Lionel Messi wasn't provoked by a Man City player after Barcelona loss

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Football News

So it took over 24 hours after the initial altercation, but it appears we finally know who provoked Lionel Messi to go into an aggressive rage after Manchester City beat Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Fernandinho was the first person accused of riling the Argentine as the teams returned to the dressing rooms following the final whistle at the Etihad.

However, he posted a statement across his social media accounts on Wednesday to dismiss the theory that was initially speculated in reports from Brazil.

So with Fernandinho out of the running, who could it be?

Well, The Sun claim that the person in question wasn't actually one of the players but a member of Pep Guardiola's coaching staff.

Mikel Arteta was brought in by Guardiola after deciding to hang up his boots at Arsenal last summer to add his invaluable experience of the Premier League to City's ranks.

The ex-Everton midfielder knew Guardiola from their time together at Barcelona although Arteta only progressed as far as the B team in contrast to his more successful friend.

And his first step on the coaching ladder had rather gone unnoticed until now.

It is believed the Spaniard high-fived the City stars as they left the Etihad pitch before continuing the celebrations with various cheers and fist-pumps in the tunnel.

According to The Sun, Messi took exception to Arteta's overzealous behaviour and urged him to return to Man City's changing room.

“Go and enjoy yourself in the dressing room. Do not do this here," Messi reportedly said in Spanish.

The latest report would appear to somewhat contradict the previous reports that suggested the altercation featured Messi calling said person an 'imbecile' and ran after him shouting: "Come back here, don’t hide."

So unless Arteta said something after Messi had initially encouraged him to go in the dressing room, why would the Barcelona star then tell him to 'Come back here'?

It all seems very strange and you can guarantee this won't be the last we hear of the altercation.

With all of this talk about Messi's incident after the match, some might have forgotten just how big a result that was for Guardiola's men.

Man City are now just two points behind the La Liga champions at the top of Group C with two games left to play.

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Mikel Arteta
Manchester City
Lionel Messi
UEFA Champions League

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