Lionel Messi Tells Barcelona Fans To Stop Booing Coutinho After His First Goal
Lionel Messi used his goal celebration to tell Barcelona fans not to boo Philippe Coutinho in a great moment of leadership.
Coutinho remains subject to intense criticism from his own set of fans.
The Brazilian midfielder has had an underwhelming campaign at Barcelona in his first full season at the club since his mega transfer in 2017.
Though he started against Liverpool in the Champions League but only lasted till the hour mark.
Ernesto Valverde replaced him by subbing on Nelson Semedo.
The Camp Nou faithful continued their harsh treatment of Coutinho who was jeered during Barcelona's victory over Liverpool.
However, Messi has defended his teammate and even gestured to Barcelona supporters after scoring on Wednesday.
He scored his first goal of the night in the 75th minute and immediately interacted with the Barcelona fans.
'Pitos no'. El mensaje de Messi a la afición. #ChampionsMLC pic.twitter.com/QvycsGls6E
- La Casa del Fútbol en Movistar+ (@casadelfutbol) May 1, 2019
Messi scores his 600th goal with an incredible free kick in the Champions League semi-final, and he uses his celebration to tell the fans not to whistle their own players (Coutinho). This is what you call a CAPTAIN. https://t.co/wmvkl0f0T9
- Navid Molaaghaei (@navidjaaan) May 1, 2019
Messi also backed Coutinho in his post-match interview.
"We're in a definitive moment, we're in a great moment," he said following his side's 3-0 first-leg victory.
"It's not a moment to criticize anyone. We work together. It was ugly to whistle Coutinho. It doesn't matter if he's had a good game or not."
An influential player in more ways than one.
Messi then brought up his 600th goal for Barcelona in superb fashion. He curled in a remarkable free-kick from 35 yards out to all but secure a spot in the Champions League final.
The Catalan club are on course for a stunning treble. They've secured La Liga; they face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final and they're just two games away from lifting European silverware.