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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Fernandinho hits out at 'absurd' reports of Lionel Messi provocation

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has said reports he provoked Barcelona's Lionel Messi in the aftermath of his side's 3-1 win on Tuesday are "absurd."

Cadena Cope claimed Messi confronted an unnamed City player after the latter had provoked him as both teams left the pitch following the match at the Etihad Stadium.

The Spanish radio station reported that Messi allegedly shouted, "stupid, come here and show your face, don't hide" as the City player in question rushed into the changing room.

On Wednesday, City denied reports of an altercation in the tunnel, a club source told ESPN FC, and Fernandinho has echoed that stance.

The Brazilian said on his Instagram account: "To the misinformed. I am totally unaware where from rumours could have emerged related to an alleged augment and provocation on my behalf towards Messi!

"I can only reiterate that news spread by the media are not only false/untrue but absurd, as I did not have contact with any of the players of Barcelona's technical team after the match.

"Instigation and provocation does not reflect my character as I strongly uphold value and respect in and out of the pitch, irrespective of which player or opponent team."

Spanish channel La Sexta TV claims it was not a City player but Pep Guardiola's assistant, Mikel Arteta, who had an altercation with Messi in the tunnel

According to La Sexta, Arteta told Messi: "Who are you waiting for? Go on to the changing room, you twit."

ESPN FC's Spain correspondent Adriana Garcia contributed to this report.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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