Lionel Messi was reportedly made to calm down Barcelona teammate Philippe Coutinho before his side’s clash against Espanyol, after the Brazilian was left out of the Blaugrana’s starting XI for their Catalan derby.
Barca didn’t actually need the Brazilian in the end, as Ernesto Valverde’s side ran out comfortable 4-0 winners over their local rivals, with goals from Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele sealing the deal for the La Liga leaders.
However, it seemed that not everything went perfectly for Barca, especially if Don Balon‘s report about incidents before the game are true.
According to the Spanish news outlet’s report, Messi was made to calm Coutinho down before the match after he was left out of his side’s starting XI, something that left the former Liverpool star ‘outraged’ with manager Valverde.
Valverde opted to go with Dembele over Coutinho for Barca’s clash against Espanyol, a decision that ended up paying dividends considering the performance the Frenchman put in.
Dembele scored a superbly taken goal in the first half that gave Barca a 2-0 lead, something that put them firmly in the driving seat.
The former Borussia Dortmund man was a constant threat down the Blaugrana’s left hand side, and Dembele was often the driving force behind a large number of Barca’s counter attacks.
Coutinho was eventually brought off the bench in the second half, however the Brazilian failed to get his name on the scoresheet as Barca ran out comfortable 4-0 winners at the RCDE Stadium.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Valverde decides to go with Coutinho or Dembele from here on out, a decision that may end up angering the Brazilian should he opt to go with Dembele over the former Espanyol man.