Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts while hanging from the net after missing a goal against Eibar during their Spanish first division (also known as La Liga) soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona October 18, 2014. REUTERS/Albert Gea

FC Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique, is quelling the controversy over Lionel Messi’s refusal to come off the pitch during last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Eibar. Enrique took the attention off the incident when he told the media that “what happened can be interpreted in many ways” to the media on Monday.

Despite Enrique’s attempts to say that what happened is open to interpretation, it seemed very clear to everyone watching the match that there is only one interpretation to be had: Messi did not want out of the game. Spanish Television channel, La Sexta, had footage of the incident which showed Enrique shouting and gesturing towards Messi to come off the pitch for a substitute in the 76th minute. Messi had just scored the third goal of the match, leaving him just two goals shy of the all-time La Liga record of 251.

Messi refused to come off the pitch and appears to intentionally ignore his coach. Rather than make it an issue, Enrique replaced Neymar with Munir El Haddadi instead of Messi.

“Before making changes, we generally ask the players what they want and we make the decision afterwards, “said Enrique on Monday. “What happened can be interpreted many ways, depending on who it serves. I will carry on doing what I have been doing.”

Messi does not have a history of controversy with Enrique, nor has he ever not come off the pitch when being substituted before. It’s possible he wanted to stay in the game in order to try and score another goal and move closer to the record, or maybe he really did not hear Enrique (which we doubt because he gave his coach the thumbs up), in any event, it should not have any impact on the player and coach moving forward as they prepare for their Clasico clash with Real Madrid on Saturday.

“I have to take everything into account, but I trust hoe he feels and what he tells me,” said the Barcelona manager trying to explain the incident. “Sometimes I look around me on the bench and think how lucky we are to have Messi. For us it is not just about what he does on the pitch. He is also a great motivator for his teammates.”

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