Marco Verratti claims Lionel Messi shows far more dissent to referees and escapes punishment

David Cooper - Writer 17:30 19/03/2018
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Marco Verratti was sent off in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain which knocked the Ligue 1 giants out of the Champions League.

The Italian received a second booking in the fixture for arguing with the referee after being denied a free-kick.

While the midfielder accepts that he needs to change his attitude towards referees, he has claimed that Barcelona star Lionel Messi gets away with even more dissent directed at the officials.

“I got it wrong against Real, but it was a red card out of frustration and sometimes referees could be more tolerant,” he to Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It was a bad reaction but I didn’t insult anybody, whereas Messi goes around pointing his finger in the referee’s face and doesn’t even get punished. But anyway, I need to improve.”

PSG were one of the favourites in the Champions League before being eliminated by the defending champions 5-2 on aggregate.

However, Verratti believes there isn’t much between the two sides.

“PSG are not that far away from Real Madrid,’ he continued. “We were convinced we could go through, but then certain incidents make the difference.

“It [being without Neymar] is like taking Messi away from Barcelona – they are players who make up 30 per cent of a team.

“We’re lucky to have him. He cost a lot because he’s phenomenal.”

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