Lionel Messi left battered, bruised, and bleeding after overzealous challenge from Chris Smalling

Lionel Messi bleeds.

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Lionel Messi bleeds.
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Photo by Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

Lionel Messi was left battered, bruised, and bleeding after he was clumsily challenged by Chris Smalling during a UEFA Champions League match.

FC Barcelona traveled to Old Trafford in northern England to contest the first leg of its crucial Champions League quarterfinal against Manchester United.

Ahead of the match, Smalling was asked by the media how he was feeling about marking Messi, a player so good at soccer that when he scores, opposing fans stand and applaud.

Smalling, seemingly unfazed, told BBC it was “a challenge to relish” before adding: “Bring it on.”

Smalling, who is 28 centimeters taller than Messi, certainly brought it midway through Wednesday’s match, but unfortunately for the Barça forward, the United defender’s challenge was one he never saw coming.

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It all happened in the first half when Messi was preparing to control the ball coming down from the sky. But before Messi could even make contact with the ball, Smalling entered the frame and shoulder-barged Messi out of the way.

All Messi could do was collapse awkwardly on the floor. He was then seen bleeding from the mouth with a cut on his eyelid and a bruise on his cheek.

Watch Messi receive medical attention right here:

It wasn’t all bad news for Messi, though, as his passing vision led to a Luis Suárez attack and Luke Shaw own goal just 12 minutes into the match.

It proved to be the only goal of the game. Barcelona now takes a 1-0 advantage into the second leg at Camp Nou in Spain, on Tuesday.