Lionel Messi’s X-rated rant at opponent in first Barcelona match since U-turn

Gimnastic player Javier Ribelles claims Lionel Messi called him an "idiot" and an "a**hole" during a friendly match with Barcelona at the weekend.

Messi, 33, was making his first appearance for the Catalans since reversing his decision to leave the club this summer.

He played the first 45 minutes of the game as Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners over Gimnastic de Tarragona, who play in the third tier of Spanish football.

Messi's incredible trickery and dribbling ability means he is often subject to late and heavy-handed challenges by opposition players.

But the Argentine superstar was especially unhappy with his treatment at the hands of midfielder Ribelles.

After the match, the 28-year-old claimed Messi said: "What are you doing, idiot? Do you want to stop kicking me, a**hole?"

Nonetheless, Ribelles defended his aggressive tactics to try and nullify the treat of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner. He added: "It was clear that Messi could not turn, because if he does and faces you it is very complicated.

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"In one of those that he is going to receive from his back, I will give him everything, with his feet, his hands, with the chest."

Ribelles also detailed his response to Messi's X-rated rant, admitting he tried to flatter the Barcelona legend.

"It's that if you're the best I have to kick you, I can't let you turn because you're going to beat me," Ribelles claims he told Messi.

Barcelona's goals were scored by forward trio Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, while Javi Bonilla was on target for Gimnastic.

The Camp Nou club have been given a late La Liga start date of 27 September after their exertions in the Champions League last month.

They begin their season with a clash with Villarreal, but face Girona and Elche in further friendlies before the game next weekend.

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