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Ex-Birmingham player apologises after calling Lionel Messi ‘half autistic’ in rant

An ex-Birmingham City player apologises after calling Barcelona and Argentina legend Lionel Messi ‘half autistic’ in an astonishing rant.

48 year old Christophe Dugarry made his thoughtless comments to RMC Sport while discussing Antoine Griezmann’s situation at the La Liga giants.

The former Atletico Madrid man, 29, has flopped at the Nou Camp, and Dugarry wondered if it had something to do with playing alongside 33-year-old Messi in attack.

Dugarry said: “Griezmann has lost confidence, his performances are not good.

“It’s true that Messi could give him a few more passes but frankly it does not shock me.

“Griezmann loses the ball, he plays badly. He can’t just go to Messi for them to solve their problems.

“Griezmann is afraid of who? Of a kid who’s 1.50 metres (tall) and half autistic?

“He just has to slap him in the face if there’s a problem.”

Dugarry faced a huge backlash for his comments and RMC Sport promptly removed him from their podcast.

The World Cup and Euros winner with France, has now apologised for his words.

He tweeted: “I am sincerely sorry for the extent and the response to my comments on Messi.

“I did not want to stigmatise people with autism disorders, it was not my intention.

“I apologise to the people I offended and will do it again on (RMC show) Team Duga this evening.”

Dugarry made a total of 55 caps for his country during a playing career spanning 17 years.

The forward started at Bordeaux before failed spells at AC Milan and Barcelona.

Dugarry resurrected his career at Marseille before returning to Bordeaux.

He even had a brief stint in the Premier League with Birmingham before retiring at Qatar SC – despite failing to make a single appearance for them.

Meanwhile, Messi scored the 700th goal of his professional career for Barcelona in their 2-2 draw with Atletico on Tuesday night.

He is regarded by many as the best footballer in history, with ten league titles, four Champions Leagues and six Ballons d’Or to his name, compared to the measly 62 goals in 368 games that Dugarry managed in him career.


1988–1996 – Bordeaux – 187 games (34 goals)
1996–1997 – Milan – 27 games (5 goals)
1997–1998 – Barcelona – 7 games (0 goals)
1998–2000 – Marseille – 52 games (8 goals)
2000–2003 – Bordeaux – 65 games (9 goals)
2003 → Birmingham City (loan) – 15 games (5 goals)
2003–2004 – Birmingham City – 15 games (1 goal)
2004–2005 – Qatar SC
Total – 368 games (62 goals)

National team
1994–2002 – France – 55 games (8 goals)

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