Messi Headbutts Yanga-Mbiwa, Then Puts Him in Chokehold

Lionel Messi lost his mind for a bit in the first half of the Joan Gamper cup against AS Roma and head-butted and choked Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

by Sean Newell
06 August 2015, 10:25am

Whoa, whoa, whoa, man. This is decidedly not magisterial work from Leo Messi against Roma last night. Already up 1-0, Messi was looking to add to Barcelona's lead when play was stopped just as he was looking to scoot around Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. As the two players approached each other, Messi went full Zidane and headbutted the former Newcastle defender. He then escalated things by grabbing Yanga-Mbiwa's throat.

It's unclear exactly what set Messi off (maybe Yanga-Mbiwa said some shit to him) but it doesn't really matter: you can't be headbutting and throwing dudes in a chokehold. Yanga-Mbiwa is remarkably calm for a guy who just had his personal space aggressively invaded.

Okay, Yanga-Mbiwa did lean his head in first, but Messi took the invite and went even further. Somewhat amazingly, neither man was sent off, but they both received yellow cards in what was ostensibly a friendly cup competition.

It wasn't enough to affect Messi's stride, however: minutes later he scored to make it 2-0, with Barca eventually running out 3-0 winners. Neymar bagged the first, while Ivan Rakitic completed the scoring.