Champions League News: Chris Smalling claims he has made up with Lionel Messi after challenge, says Argentine knew it was an accident
What's the story?
Manchester United defender, Chris Smalling, has claimed that he has made up with Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, following a tackle that left the Argentine ace bloodied in the face during the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
In case you didn't know...
Barcelona earned a much-needed advantage against Manchester United on Wednesday as the Catalan giants won the first leg of the UCL quarter-final, courtesy of a Luke Shaw own goal.
Messi could not find the net at the Theatre of Dreams but did help create the Luis Suarez effort that deflected off Shaw.
The 31-year-old also suffered an injury during the game after Smalling's hand hit him on the face while the pair were battling to win an aerial ball.
After the game, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde stated that Messi took a big blow and will have to be examined by doctors. Reports have now claimed that the Argentine will consequently miss the club's league game against Huesca this weekend.
The heart of the matter
Smalling has claimed that things are fine between himself and Messi after they spoke following the game. Speaking to BBC Sport, the defender said,
"We spoke afterwards. We had a brief chat and shook hands. He knew it was an accident."
"I didn't realise at the time that I'd actually caught him like that."
The centre-back revealed that Luis Suarez also met him after the game and wished him good luck.
"[Luis] Suarez [came up to me] after the game as well. We had a good tussle and he just shook my hand afterwards and said 'good luck'."
"It's nice when you can have that battle on the pitch and then there's respect after the game because, ultimately, you are just trying to do your best."
Manchester United and Barcelona will go at it once again in the second leg of the fixture on April 16.