‘He said he knew it was an accident’: Chris Smalling says Lionel Messi was forgiving after Manchester United defender left superstar with a bloody nose in Champions League clash
- Chris Smalling clattered Lionel Messi during Champions League quarter final
- Smalling says he caught up with Messi and the Argentine was in forgiving mood
- The Man United centre back says he was unaware of catching Messi so heavily
Smalling clattered the Barcelona forward during the Champions League quarter final first leg last week, although the centre back says he was unaware of catching Messi so heavily.
The England international says he caught up with Messi afterwards, and said the Argentine was in a forgiving mood over the challenge.
Lionel Messi ‘knew it was an accident’ after Chris Smalling left him with a bloody nose
Smalling clattered the Barcelona forward during the Champions League quarter final first leg
Smalling says he caught up with Messi afterwards and the Argentine was in a forgiving mood
Smalling told BBC Radio Five Live: ‘We spoke after. I didn’t realise at the time actually that I had caught him like that, but after the game we had a brief chat, shook hands and he said he knew it was an accident.
‘Luis Suarez after as well, we had a good tussle and he just shook my hand after and we just said good luck.
‘So it’s nice when you can have that battle on the pitch and then obviously there’s full respect after the game because ultimately you’re just trying to do your best and enjoy the game.’
The Manchester United centre back says he was unaware of catching Messi so heavily
Messi’s understanding attitude will have been helped by Barca coming away from Old Trafford with a 1-0 win thanks to Luke Shaw’s own goal.
It leaves the La Liga leaders in the driving seat ahead of the quarter final second leg at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
Messi meanwhile could be rested for Barca’s La Liga clash away to Huesca on Saturday, despite not suffering any major injuries from his Old Trafford clash.
Barca manager Ernesto Valverde does not want his star man burning out as they challenge for trophies both at home and on the continent.
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