Lionel Messi was at the centre of a headbutting controversy on Wednesday as Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 victory over Serie A side Roma in a pre-season friendly at the Camp Nou.
Footage of the first half incident showed Messi aiming a headbutt at Yanga-Mbiwa’s after the Roma defender appeared to nod his head in the direction of the diminutive South American star.
A furious Messi grabbed Yanga-Mbiwa by the throat after clashing with the defender before other players rushed over to intervene.
Messi escaped a red card for the incident however, receiving only a caution from referee Javier Estrada Fernandez. Yanga-Mbiwa was also booked.
The flashpoint represented a rare loss of cool for Messi. The Argentine has never been sent off for Barcelona and has only ever been red-carded once — on his international debut as a teenager in 2005.
Ivan Rakitic made it 3-0 in the second half with a long range strike as Barcelona completed a routine win.
Barcelona kick off the defence of their Spanish league crown against Athletic Bilbao on August 23.