Fierce rivals: Messi and Ronaldo epitomise Real Madrid and Barcelona rivalry
Fierce rivals: Messi and Ronaldo epitomise Real Madrid and Barcelona rivalry.

An Iraqi man beheaded his friend after the pair got into a row about Spanish football, reports claim.

The incident took place in a leisure hall in the town of Madaen, 20 miles south of Baghdad, according to

The pair began arguing over the merits of their respective clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid, before the dispute took a shocking turn.

A source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry said the Barcelona fan drew a knife and began stabbing the Real Madrid supporter with the blade.

He then beheaded his victim in full view of other people at the leisure hall in Madaen, a town 20 miles south of the Iraqi capital.

He was restrained by witnesses who held him until the police arrived and arrested him.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said: "A fight broke out on Monday night at the Games Hall in Aldjaarh, between two friends, one of whom supported Barcelona and the other who supported Real Madrid.

"Witnesses at the Hall captured the offender and called the police, who rushed to the scene and took him to a security centre for interrogation. The dead body was taken to the forensic medical department for a post-mortem."

The incident is just the latest outburst of violence between fans of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the war-torn country.

Last year, police struggled to halt running battles in the streets between fans of the two clubs, in which knives were used. There were several serious injuries as a result.