Barcelona's Lionel Messi sits on the bench before their Spanish First Division soccer match against Real Betis at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, May 5, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Lionel Messi fired back at the media for making comments about his gesture toward Coach Gerardo Martino.
According to ESPN, a number of outlets noted that Messi was upset with his coach for subbing him off during Barcelona's 4-1 win over Real Sociedad on Tuesday. Many stated that the player made gestures of displeasure but Messi took to Facebook to set the word straight.
"I didn't mean to make any gesture when Martino took me off. Nobody likes to be out, but we must accept it because it is the best for our team," Messi wrote on his Facebook page. "What I will not accept is that certain media tell lies about any situation that happens around me."
Martino echoed similar sentiments and noted that his star player is highly competitive and wants to remain in the entire match.
"Messi never wants to be subbed off, but it's my task to take care of him," Martino said, according to ESPN. "We need him at end of season as well as now."
Martino noted that he was taking a cautious approach to his players to ensure that they are at optimum health when the knockout rounds of the Champions League and Copa del Rey come around. He has already benched top stars like Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta at the start matches and also left Neymar on the bench earlier in the season.
There has been some concern about whether Martino's style is actually pushing the team away from its traditional tiki-taka play, but most players have come to his defense and talked positively about the new style of play.