Barça forward Messi says referee was desperate to show him a yellow card

Messi would have missed Saturday's Clasico if booked against Valladolid

Barcelona welcomed Real Valladolid on Monday with a golden chance to cut the gap on Atletico Madrid. 

The eventual 1-0 win moved them to within a point of the La Liga leaders with nine games to play. 

The players knew they couldn't let the chance escape them. Captain Lionel Messi was very clear on that. 

Messi would have missed the Clasico against Real Madrid on Saturday if he was booked. 

And before going into the dressing room at halftime, he said to the club delegate Carlos Naval that the referee wanted that to happen. 

"He's desperate to show me a car... ufff, incredible," Messi said. 

Messi also exercised his role as leader in the tunnel just before the second half. 

"We have to win this however we can," he said. "We have to step it up a gear, play with more rhythm." 

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