Ex-France forward Dugarry calls Messi "half autistic" in shocking rant

Christophe Dugarry has been heavily criticised after he described Barcelona star Lionel Messi as "half autistic" during his assessment of the Catalan giant's 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona's hopes of winning a third La Liga title in a row are all but over following the result, which was their third draw in four games, and they are now one point behind bitter rivals Real Madrid having played a game more.

French forward Antoine Griezmann has received criticism recently for his poor form, and he was left on the bench for the game against Atletico, only coming on for the final two minutes.

But speaking to RMC Sport, Dugarry said Messi was partly to blame for Griezmann's struggles.

"What is (Griezmann) afraid of? A kid who is 1.5 metres tall and half autistic?" Dugarry said. "All he has to do is show some balls at this point.

"I've been saying for a year that he has a problem with Messi. He has to hit him in the face.

"It's true that Messi could give him more passes, but honestly I am not surprised. Griezmann loses balls, doesn't play with confidence. Griezmann should go and talk to Messi to solve the problem."

Dugarry has received backlash since making the comments, with many accusing him of discriminating against disabled people.

He later apologised for his words, tweeting: "I’m sincerely sorry for the breadth and depth of my remarks about Lionel Messi. I didn't want to stigmatise people with autism disorders, that was not my intention. I apologise to the people I shocked and will do it again (apologise) on Team Duga (TV show) this evening."

Messi and his side are next in action on Sunday when they face Villarreal, in a game they surely have to win to stand any chance of continuing to challenge Madrid for the title.

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