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Gaspart stands by accused Messi

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has leapt to the defence of Lionel Messi after accusations from Real Madrid’s Jose Maria Callejon.

The Madrid man accused Messi of waiting for over an hour after Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash just to insult Real’s assistant coach Aitor Karanka and defender Alvaro Arbeloa.

However, Gaspart doubts Callejon’s story, and said it is not line with Messi’s character and behaviour.

“Knowing Messi, who is polite and behaves appropriately on and off the pitch, I very much doubt that he would want to have waited just so he could insult someone,” Gaspart told Sport.

“We just have to concentrate on ourselves and prepare for the next game. Others will say whatever they want.

“In theory, an away draw is always good and more so if the rival is Madrid. However, in the return leg we still have to win no matter what.”

Gaspart also praised Carles Puyol’s reaction to team-mate Gerard Pique’s attempt to halt the game after a lighter was thrown on to the pitch from the home crowd.

“The attitude of Puyol to get rid of the lighter was the right thing to do,” he said.

“There is already enough tension in this country and now football is no longer any different.”

Sat 2 Feb, 2013
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