Monday, 10th February, 2014

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino gave his sternest warning against criticising Lionel Messi after the Argentine's brace led the club back to the top of La Liga.

The Catalans ceded the leadership to Atletico Madrid at the start of February when they lost 3-2 to Valencia.

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However, it was business as usual yesterday as Messi grabbed his double against Sevilla around goals from Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas, in a 4-1 win.

Messi had his own sub-plot, having scored just one goal in his last nine league outings prior to the game. It had prompted some quick criticism, though Martino was equally quick in his retorts.


"Those who say anything negative about him, what they are doing is touching his pride", he told Catalan daily Sport.

"And if you touch the pride of the best player in the world, it becomes a problem for his opponents.

"It's reassuring to be back at the top, and now the game begins to see who has not failed."

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