7 times Lionel Messi proved that he too can be as dirty as they come
- When the world's best player unleashed his dark side
Lionel Messi is without a shroud of doubt one of the best if not the best footballer in the world. He is the all-time record goalscorer for both Barcelona and Argentina. Moreover, Messi boasts of other multiple individual records that most players could only dream of. At club level, he has inspired Barcelona to clinch every major cup on offer including; La Liga, UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Club Cup and the Copa Del Rey on several occasions.
He is the epitome of a forward whose primary goals are tormenting opposition defences and making an impact for his team to win. Usually, it has been Messi who is tackled and infringed by defenders on top of other forms of dirty play. In these seven rare moments, Messi was also caught up in the dark side of football.
For someone with over 600 career goals and multiple scoring records, it is hard to imagine that Messi too could ever resort to simulation. On July 26, 2016, Brazilian referee Heber Lopes booked Messi in the 40th minute. This was during an enthralling Copa America Centenario final when Argentina faced Chile. The fiery affair had multiple bookings for five players in the first half but it was Messi's that was least expected.
In a December 2016 league match against Osasuna, Messi went to the ground easily with seemingly no contact from a defender. He quickly confessed that to the referee and avoided a booking. His reputation as a clean player probably also informed the referee's decision to show leniency.