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Ernesto Valverde defends Lionel Messi after Real Madrid stalwart’s claim

Tensions were high during the meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid in El Clasico on Sunday, with words exchanged after the game through the media.

The encounter ended 2-2 at the Nou Camp, with the hosts reduced to 10 men after Sergi Roberto’s sending off in the opening 45 minutes while there were several other contentious incidents too.

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As noted by ESPN, Madrid defender Sergio Ramos insisted that Lionel Messi had “put a little bit of pressure” on referee Hernandez Hernandez during the half-time interval which he suggested may have influenced his decision-making in the second half.

Los Blancos felt aggrieved that they didn’t receive a penalty after Marcelo was tripped in the box by Jordi Alba while Luis Suarez appeared to foul Raphael Varane in the build-up to Messi’s goal, but Ernesto Valverde has defended the Argentine ace and insisted that such discussions happened all the time.

“There are always these conversations between the players and the referees,” he told the media on Tuesday, as per ESPN. “I have seen many things from many teams in my time, both on the pitch and in the tunnel. In that sense, no one is in a position to open their mouth — I can guarantee you that.”

Given Barcelona had already been crowned champions to complete a domestic double along with the Copa del Rey, they certainly didn’t need to become involved in such debates.

Nevertheless, especially given the nature of the game and with it being their fierce rivals Real Madrid, plenty was still on the line for the two clubs, thus leading to the heated discussions.

Valverde evidently feels as though Messi did nothing wrong when talking to the official, but Ramos saw it otherwise. What really matters is that the game ended in a draw, with Barcelona claiming bragging rights this season albeit Madrid could still land the biggest prize of them all with another Champions League triumph on May 26.

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