Lionel Messi potentially faces a two-year ban from international football after he accused the COPA America of being “corrupt”.
This is according to Spanish source AS, with Messi’s comments coming after Argentina’s victory over Chile in Saturday’s third-place play-off.
Messi was shown a straight red card after an altercation with Gary Medel, despite the fact he didn’t do anything wrong. He refused to collect his bronze medal afterward.
The 32-year-old was also angry about Argentina’s 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the semi-finals, where they were denied two blatant penalties.
“I didn’t go to the podium because we shouldn’t be part of the corruption and lack of respect,” Messi told reporters. “We were meant for more but they didn’t let us be in the final.
“The corruption and the referees didn’t allow the people to enjoy and football is ruined. The corruption and the referees didn’t allow us to be in the final. You have to say the truth.
“Brazil champions? No doubt. Sadly, I think the Copa is set up for Brazil.”
As Messi predicted, Brazil beat Peru in Sunday’s final to win the Copa America for the first time since 2007.
Thiago Silva was asked about said comments after the game and he accused Messi of “playing the referee” during Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain back in 2017.
“This is hard for us to comment on,” Silva responded. “Sometimes in defeat, we try to focus on other people.
“I think he (Messi) did not say it out of spite, but we are sad because in the game we lost 6-1 to Barcelona, he played the referee, which in my opinion was ridiculous.
“But we didn’t give a statement that the referee was in favor of Barcelona. I think you have to show respect.
“Brazil does not have five stars [from World Cup wins] at random – none of them have been stolen. It was played on the pitch.”
Silva was part of the PSG team that lost 6-1 to Barcelona in the Champions League and his comments about Messi may spark some backlash.
Something tells us this saga is far from over.