Messi refuses the Copa America medal: This cup is set for Brazil

7.7.2019.  

The consolation match for the third place of the Copa America went to Argentina 2:1 (2:0), but will be remembered for its aftermath. In the 37' minute of the match, Lionel Messi and Chile's Gary Medel both received straight red cards for chest-to-chest pushing following a duel for a ball. A decision that was deemed as harsh for both players, but especially for Messi whose intensity was lower in the clash.


In the eyes of the Argentina superstar, the reason behind the red card is in his statements following the semi-final match with Brazil when Messi accused the referees of backing the hosts. Argentians believe they ought to have gotten two penalty calls, the second one being particularly concerning as Brazil scored its second goals immediately after the missed call. The biggest problem Argentinians have with the refereeing is that VAR wasn't even consulted both times.


And if Messi was surprisingly straightforward following the loss to Brazil, he was uncharacteristically blunt following the third-place match. Refusing to even accept the medal from the tournament. Nicolas Otamendi was also missing from the award ceremony.


"I didn't go because of a bit of everything. I think that we shouldn't form part of this corruption, for the lack of respect they've shown us in this tournament. We leave with the feeling that we could have done more, that against Brazil and today have been our two best games," said the Barcelona player.


Messi even put more pressure on the CONMBEOL ahead of today's final game when asked about Peru's chances against Brazil.


"I think there's no doubt, unfortunately, the cup is set for Brazil. Hopefully, VAR and the referees will have nothing to do with the final so that Peru can compete, because they have the team to do so, but it's difficult."


 

Arturo Vidal agreed with his club teammate, issuing his own criticism on the account of the referee and the organization behind the tournament.


"I think Argentina had things go against them when they played Brazil. It was unfair, just like when they sent us to a hotel two hours away from the stadium to play against Colombia. The referee wanted to be more important than the game, how can he send off both captains for a bit of pushing? Clearly, they got ahead of themselves, they didn't touch faces, there was nothing serious. Two shoves with the chest isn't a red card," said the Chilean.


CONMBEOL responded with a statement itself.


"In football, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and a fundamental pillar of fair play is accepting the result with loyalty and respect. The same goes for refereeing decisions, they are human and can always improve. It's unacceptable that from roots of the competition, where 12 teams compete in equal conditions, there have been unfounded accusations made that are untrue and put the integrity of the Copa America in question. These accusations represent a lack of respect to the competition, to the footballers taking part, and to the hundreds of CONMEBOL professionals who have worked since 2016 to make our organisation transparent and professional and to develop South American football."


Messi might have disappointed with his performance at the Copa, but he somewhat made up for it with these fearless statements.



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