Most players seem rather excited about facing Lionel Messi with their usually being a clamour for the Barcelona talismans shirt at the end of most matches.
Not so for Rayo Vallecano’s Raul Baena who did not shake hands with Lionel Messi before Barcelona’s 4-0 victory on Saturday.
Initially, Baena was labelled as the player who refused to shake hands with Messi but he has come out swiftly to deny such suggestions.
Baena said on the Rayo Vallecano website on Monday: “This is an issue that I would like to clarify, because in the many reports it has been assumed that it was me who refused to greet Messi. They were the visitors and were passing us by for the greeting. You can clearly see that there is hint from me to shake hands, in seeing him pass by, I retract mine.”
The 24-year-old added: “I do not know if he did not notice, but I do not give it any importance. Nor I do not want to focus much on this, it is an insignificant detail, but I want to clarify and settle the issue now.”
To add to the supposed bad blood between Baena and Messi – the Vallecano midfielder was booked just before half-time for hacking at the Barcelona forward.
Baena also added on the yellow card: “Also the foul I committed on Messi, which is also being spoken about. It is a foul that is seen in many games with many players and it is not given the slightest attention. It is an action that the referee has punished with a yellow card and nothing more. I believe that to dwell on an action of the game is nonsense.”
The fact Baena came through the ranks at Espanyol has been cited as a possible reason for the failure to shake hands.
Two angles of Raul Baena and Lionel Messi failing to shake hands before the La Liga match are below.