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      Lionel Messi was called a ‘possessed dwarf’ and ‘devil’ by an opposition coach following a recent Inter Miami defeat.

      After leading Inter Miami to glory in the Leagues Cup last summer, Lionel Messi is looking to establish the club on the continental stage in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

      Miami began their campaign by eliminating fellow Major League Soccer side Nashville SC 5-3 on aggregate across a two-legged round of 16 tie.

      Last week the David Beckham-owned franchise went up against Mexican side Monterrey in the first leg of their quarter-final, but they suffered a 2-1 defeat at home.

      Messi has missed the first two months of the MLS season with a hamstring injury, so he was absent when Monterrey visited Chase Stadium on Thursday.

      However, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner still managed to make headlines thanks to an altercation following a bad-tempered match.

      USA Today reported that after the first-leg, Messi, Jordi Alba, Luis Suarez and Miami coach Gerardo Martino were involved in a confrontation in a mixed zone outside the Monterrey dressing room.

      The group reportedly approached the match officials in the stadium tunnel after Miami received six yellow cards and one red.

      On Friday, Fox Sports MX leaked audio of Monterrey assistant coach Nico Sanchez describing the incident.

      “The dwarf was possessed, he had the face of the devil,” Sanchez said of Messi.

      “He put his fist next to my face and says: ‘Who do you think you are?’ But because I didn’t look at him, I was looking away, I never answered back, it made things worse.

      “And Tata [Gerardo] Martino, what a poor dummy, I had him in front of me telling me: ‘Fool, you going to cry? Fool you going to cry?’ What a dummy!

      “All those videos, they probably erased them all because it leaves them looking bad. What they did was really serious. They want to dirty the pitch.”

      Before the match, Monterrey head coach Fernando Ortiz expressed concern that Miami receive preferential treatment from the game’s officials because of Messi’s celebrity status.

      “Everything that surrounds Messi can lead to sporting and non-sporting decisions,” Ortiz said.

      Sánchez has now apologised to Martino in a video posted on social media.

      “Since I do not know the Inter coach, Gerardo Martino, and I referred to him in a disrespectful manner, and I apologise,” Sánchez said.

      He did not mention Messi in the video.

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