Argentina's Lionel Messi rues corruption, poor refereeing after receiving red card v Chile

Updated: Jul 08, 2019, 09:25 IST | AFP |

Messi had already been angered by the refereeing during Argentina's 2-0 semi-final loss against Brazil, claiming the hosts were getting preferential treatment from South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL

Argentina's Lionel Messi (second from left) is shown the red card by 
the referee during their Copa America tie against Chile on Saturday
Argentina's Lionel Messi (second from left) is shown the red card by the referee during their Copa America tie against Chile on Saturday

Sao Paulo (Brazil): Lionel Messi hit out at "corruption and the referees" at the Copa America after he was harshly sent off as Argentina secured third place with a 2-1 victory over Chile on Saturday.

Fractious encounter

In a niggly and fractious match, five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi and Chile captain Gary Medel were given their marching orders eight minutes from half-time after tangling on the goalline. Television replays of the incident suggested Messi had done little wrong. "Corruption and the referees are preventing people from enjoying the football and they're ruining it a bit," said the global star.

Messi had already been angered by the refereeing during Argentina's 2-0 semi-final loss against Brazil, claiming the hosts were getting preferential treatment from South American football's governing body CONMEBOL. Saturday's match will be most remembered for the double sending-off. In what seemed an innocuous clash, a frustrated Messi shoved Medel in the back.

Medel responded by chest-bumping Messi twice in an incident that probably merited no more than a single yellow card for the Chilean. Incredibly, Paraguayan referee Mario Diaz de Vivar showed the two captains the red card. "Medel always goes to the limit, but it wasn't a red card for either of us. He [the referee] could have consulted VAR," said Messi.

Bias towards Brazil

Messi also took aim at hosts Brazil. "I think there's no doubt that Brazil are going to be champions. The Copa is weighted towards Brazil and hopefully VAR and the referees will have nothing to look at in the final and Peru can compete, because they have the team to do so," he said.

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