Pep Guardiola has denied that Mikel Arteta was involved in a tunnel bust-up with Lionel Messi after Manchester City’s 3-1 Champions League win over Barcelona on Tuesday.
It was reported in Spain late on Tuesday night that an unnamed City player provoked Messi before disappearing into the home dressing room.
It was then claimed by Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte on Wednesday that Fernandinho was the culprit, while later that evening Spanish reporters said it was City coach Arteta who was actually at the centre of the incident.
Fernandinho denied the rumours of his involvement almost immediately, while City as a club have insisted nothing happened at all, and now Guardiola has spoken up on behalf of Arteta, who he brought to the club this summer.
“I spoke with Arteta,” he said. “It’s impossible, he admires so many things about Barcelona, the institution, about Messi in this case.
“And knowing Mikel as I know him, he’s one of the best people I’ve met in my life, it’s impossible that he could have an argument with another excellent person like Messi. Impossible.
“First it was Fernandinho, now it’s Arteta, let’s see who it is tomorrow. Let’s see if you finally guess.”