• Premier League

Messi hit by bottle thrown from crowd

ESPN staff
December 1, 2014
Marcotti: Barca back to the drawing board

Lionel Messi was struck by a bottle as he celebrated Sergio Busquets' late winner for Barcelona against Valencia on Sunday night.

Busquets hammered home in the final minute as Barcelona took all three points with a 1-0 win, but as Messi celebrated on the ground with his team-mate he appeared to be hit on the head by a projectile thrown from the crowd.

Lionel Messi takes a moment against Valencia © Getty Images

Messi then protested to the referee, but was booked for his trouble before the final whistle was blown.

The Spanish FA are likely to look into the incident, but no comment has yet been made.

Meanwhile, Gerard Pique says Messi is "not as obsessed" as Cristiano Ronaldo is with improving himself, but believes his Barcelona team-mate is the world's best player.

Messi, 27, and Ronaldo, 29, are among the favourites for the 2014 Ballon d'Or award, with the former winning on four previous occasions and the Real Madrid forward collecting it twice.

Pique says Ronaldo helped him while they were at Manchester United together, but thinks Messi is a "natural talent" as opposed to the Portuguese "machine".

"I like Cristiano Ronaldo," Pique told the Voetbal Magazine. "Many times conclusions are drawn based on specific actions without actually getting to know him.

"He has changed in recent years, I know him from United and he took to me well. He helped me a lot in Manchester.

"Cristiano is a perfect machine, a hard worker who always wants to improve. He is very demanding of himself, something that he showed at United.

"The most surprising thing is that Messi won four Ballons d'Or in a row and he kept going on there, with the strength to beat him."

In fact, Pique acknowledged that he was glad when Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or in 2013.

"He deserves it too. Leo is different, he is a natural talent," he said. "Maybe he is not as obsessed or as much of a worker as Cristiano, but when he gets the ball it is impossible to take it off him.

"It seems like you can steal the ball from him, but Leo is a genius. From an early age, [he was] the best player in the world."

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