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'I will not wash my clothes!' - Barcelona new boy Braithwaite elated after debut alongside Messi

21:53 GMT+3 22/02/2020
Martin Braithwaite Barcelona 2019-20
The striker made his debut for the Catalan club in their 5-0 rout of Eibar on Saturday, with Quique Setien's side moving top of La Liga

Barcelona new boy Martin Braithwaite has joked that he "will not wash his clothes" after receiving a hug from Lionel Messi on his Blaugrana debut.

The striker made his debut in the second half of the Catalan club's 5-0 thrashing of Eibar on Saturday, to see Quique Setien's side move two points clear at the summit of La Liga.

Denmark international Braithwaite was signed at short notice earlier this week by the champions after they were handed approval to make an emergency transfer following injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez.

The 28-year-old, who has been something of a journeyman forward during his career to date, was signed from Leganes after Barca agreed to match the club's buy-out clause.

Speaking afterwards, Braithwaite - who previously played for Toulouse and Middlesbrough - acknowledged that he couldn't have imagined pulling on the famed shirt for the club, adding that it was a "spectacular" honour to play for them.

"I will not wash my clothes after receiving Messi's hugs," he stated. "I admit that I didn't think I would be playing for Barcelona a week ago.

"He congratulated me afterwards. He looks like a great man and he wanted to make me feel at ease. He looked for me with the ball after I came on.

"As a child, I watched players make their debut for this club on TV. I thought about how special these moments are. To suddenly be here with this reception from the fans, it has been spectacular."

Braithwaite made his senior debut with Esbjerg in 2009, with whom he won the Danish Cup, before making the move to France in 2013. 

Having netted 40 goals in 149 appearances for Toulouse, he was sold to Boro on a four-year deal, but failed to leave a major mark at the Riverside Stadium.

He subsequently was loaned to Bordeaux and then Leganes, signing a full-time deal with the club at the close of last term.

His stay has been short-lived though with the move to Camp Nou, one that has sparked controversy over whether Barca should have been allowed to recruit him.