The Argentina football superstar Lionel Messi was at the centre of a headbutting controversy as Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 victory over Serie A side Roma in a pre-season friendly at the Camp Nou.
Messi who's renowned for rarely losing his cool despite regularly being the target of brutal tackling, reacted angrily during a confrontation with Roma's French international Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Footage of the first half incident showed Messi aiming a headbutt at Yanga-Mbiwa after the Roma defender appeared to nod his head in the direction of the diminutive South American star.
A furious Messi grabbed Yanga-Mbiwa by the throat after clashing with the defender before other players rushed over to intervene.
Messi escaped a red card for the incident, however, receiving only a caution from referee Javier Estrada Fernandez. Yanga-Mbiwa was also booked.
The flashpoint represented a rare loss of cool for Messi. The Argentine has never been sent off for Barcelona and has only ever been red-carded once - on his international debut as a teenager in 2005.
Barcelona kick off the defence of their Spanish league crown against Athletic Bilbao later this month.