Messi would have missed the Clasico against Real Madrid on Saturday if he was booked.
And before going into the dressing room at halftime, he said to the club delegate Carlos Naval that the referee wanted that to happen.
"He's desperate to show me a car... ufff, incredible," Messi said.
Messi also exercised his role as leader in the tunnel just before the second half.
"We have to win this however we can," he said. "We have to step it up a gear, play with more rhythm."