Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Van Bronckhorst Defends Messi

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Van Bronckhorst Defends Messi

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

BARCELONA midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst today insisted team-mate Lionel Messi was roughed up by Chelsea.

Former Arsenal star Van Bronckhorst defended his team-mate, who was accused of playacting in the incident that led to Asier Del Horno's red card. He said: "I was a long way from the incident but the marks on Messi's leg are amazing.

He has marks on his leg 20 centimetres long and the Chelsea player caught him with his studs. I think he caught him really hard.

"The sending-off definitely affected the game. It was difficult for Chelsea because they couldn't play their favoured system and they couldn't get out of their own half easily. It was the turning point. We're very happy with the result but it's not over yet. Our pitch is a bit better than the one at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea will also benefit from that. I thought we should have had a penalty later on but the referee seemed to hesitate - I don't know why, perhaps the pressure was on him.

"You can't say it is over. …

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