‘Are they still saying that Messi doesn’t dive?’: Liverpool fans ridicule Barcelona star for taking a tumble after colliding with James Milner
Lionel Messi may well have secured Barcelona’s place in the Champions League final with two crucial goals against Liverpool but not everything he did on Wednesday night was worthy of eulogy.
The Argentine grabbed his 599th and 600th career goals against the Merseysiders, the second of which was a stunning 35-yard free-kick to all-but end the tie – bar a miracle at Anfield.
But supporters were left with a sour taste in their mouths when the diminutive playmaker took a tumble after a challenge from James Milner, channeling his inner-Neymar with a pirouette and spin after hitting the turf.
Lionel Messi may have scored a fabulous late free-kick for Barcelona but not all was pleasant
The Argentine has been criticised by fans for his exaggerated tumble in the first half
He was tackled by Andy Robertson before colliding with Liverpool midfielder James Milner
The accidental collision sent the goal machine flying and he crashed into the turf
The former England international raised his arms to indicate the barge was unintentional
Messi took an initial tumble by the linesman’s feet before discovery some more momentum
He continued to travel down the line in Neymar-esque fashion with a few more rolls
After coming to a halt he gesticulated towards referee Bjorn Kuipers to book Milner
Fans criticised Messi with some surprised that the Argentine had such a roll in his locker
Messi squared up with Milner after the incident which came just before the halt time break
Messi had been dispossessed by a clean tackle from Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson, who sent the ball out of play.
The Barcelona star continued forward and careered into the onrushing James Milner, who crashed into him, sending him to the ground.
Messi rolled once but then appeared to discover new-found momentum for his tumble by taking another couple of spins. He then gesticulated towards referee Bjorn Kuipers, urging him to book the English midfielder.
And fans were quick to pile in on one of football’s greats, with some claiming they expected better from the global icon.
Milner laughed off Messi’s complaints but it was the Argentine who would have the last laugh
Messi would score a rebound from a Suarez shot before firing home a memorable free-kick
Messi’s determination to influence the outcome of the match at any cost translated into what he does best – scoring goals.
Liverpool dominated the second period but were unable to convert their chances, allowing Messi to take centre stage.
His first goal was a simple rebound but his second, and Barcelona’s third, was a thing of beauty. The one-club man curled an arcing free-kick past a redundant Alisson, ensuring his side will take a three-goal lead to Anfield next week.