“My relationship with Messi is bad. It’s so bad that he has assisted me in half of the goals I have with Barcelona.”
Barcelona striker David Villa has dismissed speculation that he does not see eye-to-eye with four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
Rumours of a rift between the pair first surfaced in 2011 and head coach Tito Vilanova had to dispel talk of a fresh dispute after the Spain forward and Argentine superstar were involved in a heated discussion during Barca’s hard-fought 2-0 victory over Granda in September.
Villa, who was strongly linked with a move to Premier League outfit Arsenal in January, has distanced himself from the claims.
When asked about the dispute with Messi by Spanish newspaper El Pais, the former Valencia man replied: “We’ve talked a thousand times alright?
“These are things that we do not give any importance. It is neither the first nor the last time that this kind of thing happens; but behind closed doors, nothing. We do not need to talk about it because there’s nothing to talk about.
“Puyol is always screaming in the field. The accusation is ridiculous: My relationship with Messi is bad. It’s so bad that he has assisted me in half of the goals I have with Barcelona.”
Before the new year, Villa had found opportunities limited at the Nou Camp but he started both the recent El Clasico matches with Real Madrid and has scored in his last two league appearances for the Catalans.
His good form has seen him back in the Spain squad for this week’s World Cup qualifying double header with Finland and France. Villa in his country’s all-time scorer with 53 goals.
The £33m forward has scored eight times in just twelves La Liga appearances so far this season.