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Lionel Messi 'called Jamie Carragher a donkey' in furious private message

Lionel Messi sent Jamie Carragher a private message on Instagram after the Sky Sports pundit suggested his transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain would not work out

Jamie Carragher has revealed that he received an angry private message from Lionel Messi on Instagram calling him a “donkey” last year.

The summer transfer window saw two modern greats move as Messi left Barcelona for PSG and Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United from Juventus.

At the time there was much discussion about the merits of both transfers, with the age-old debate about who is the better player resurfacing once again.

Former Liverpool player turned pundit Carragher was not convinced by either signing and compared Ronaldo’s Old Trafford return to Messi’s PSG move.

Carragher was on punditry duty for Norwich’s crucial 3-0 win over Premier League relegation rivals Watford on Friday night.

And once the game was out of the way, both he and Gary Neville picked their teams of the year – and the fact Carragher’s did not include Messi prompted an amusing confession from the former defender.

Here is how the exchange played out on Sky Sports between Carragher, Neville and presenter David Jones.

Carragher : “No Messi. We had that debate at the start of the season, Ronaldo or Messi?

“I was the Messi man. He [Neville] was Ronaldo, but unfortunately, even though he’s...

Neville : “He’s not happy with you is he, Messi?”

Carragher : “No, he’s not happy with me at all.”

Neville : “Why?”

Carragher : “I had a little pop at Ronaldo early in the season. I didn’t think it was a great signing for United. And I said the example of Messi. I didn’t think Messi was a great signing for PSG…”

Jones : “That was on Monday Night Football wasn’t it?”

Carragher : “Yeah, it was on Monday Night Football and I got a private message on Instagram…”

Jones : “From the man himself?”

Carragher : “From the man himself. I will not be showing private messages, but he basically called me a donkey.”

Jones : “So he watches his football then?”

Carragher : “He watches Monday Night Football, so hopefully he’s watching Friday Night Football as well, because Lionel I absolutely love you. The greatest player of all time – and compared to you, I was a donkey, I accept that. But you’re not getting into this team.

“You haven’t played well enough, even if you did win the Copa America in the summer. It’s not enough to leave my man out, Mo Salah.”

Carragher later tweeted out a video of the discussion, writing, “Honoured to be called a donkey by the Legend Lionel Messi!”

Carragher did indeed stick up for Messi during a heated debate with Neville back in September, when the former United defender was putting his case forward for Ronaldo.

"Messi takes you to a place where you can't believe what you're seeing. Ronaldo does things other players can do,” Carragher said on Sky Sports.

"You've seen someone score a great header before, free-kicks, all those things. Messi can do things we've never seen before, and yes it's close. But in terms of goalscoring, that's not right.

"I think there's been a lot of fanfare in terms of United and best players, and I think you [Neville] got a bit carried away."

Carragher’s team of the year: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ruben Dias, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Spinazzola; Kevin De Bruyne, N’Golo Kante, Marco Verratti; Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah.

Neville's team of the year: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Spinazzola; Joshua Kimmich, Jorginho, Marco Verratti; Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe.