Lionel Messi narrowly escaped a red card after head-butting and choking Roma defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa during a pre-season friendly.
The unsportsmanlike conduct took place in the first half of Barca’s 3-0 win. After a move broke down because of an offside, Messi turned to run back out of the box and was confronted Yanga-Mbiwa. Apparently the latter got a little too close for comfort, because Messi responded with a headbutt before grabbing the French defender’s throat.
A referee and players from both teams came in to break up the incident and both players were shown yellow. Had it been a red, it would have been only the second of Messi’s career (the first having been earned on his international debut against Hungary). Instead he went on to score just a few minutes later to make it 2-0.