Lionel Messi refused to shake the hand of referee Cuneyt Cakir at the end of Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Napoli for the official’s involvement in some controversial VAR incidents in the first half.
Messi was the star of the show at the Nou Camp after firstly scoring a brilliant goal, having one disallowed and then winning a penalty, with Barca sealing progression to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 4-2 aggregate victory.
Messi thought he had put his side 3-0 inside half an hour but, after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was ruled out. Soon after, the referee took over four minutes to award Barca a penalty for what looked like a clear foul on the Argentine.
Wait i just clocked it was the referee who Messi refused to shake hands with and not Manolas i-
The forward was adjudged to have handled Frenkie de Jong’s delightful cross before firing home, sparking controversy due to the touch appearing to be more of his chest.
Later in the half Messi snuck in front of defender Kalidou Koulibaly who brought him down with his swinging leg for what seemed a clear penalty.
It was originally not given by the official before being eventually awarded but only after a four-minute VAR check.
The incidents did not cost Barca in the end but Messi was visibly unhappy with Cakir and made his feelings clear during the post-match hand shakes and fist bumps.
A video of the altercation at full-time circulated and clearly showed Messi venting his frustration at the referee.
In the video circulating on social media, Cakir could be seen holding out his fist towards Messi but the Argentine could be seen wagging his finger and shouting ‘NO’ at the official before walking in the other direction.
Fans were quick to pick up on the incident on Twitter, with @Holuwadami saying ‘whoa… didn’t see that coming’ while @Messigician7 said ‘Savage Messiah’.
@MJSnow25 also pointed out that Cakir was part of a similar controversial incident involving Messi at the 2018 World Cup for a penalty call for a foul by Javier Mascherano, with Argentina also progressing despite the mistake.
@ClassicMessi10 replied, saying, ‘Yes exactly bro, never liked this referee, it’s like he has an agenda against Messi, the fact that he also had to spend 5 minutes checking that stone wall penalty on Messi is disgraceful’.