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Messi slams referee and CONMEBOL after sending off

Messi blasts referee after red card, claims Copa America is rigged for Brazil to win

July 6, 2019 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The Argentine skipper did not hold back with his frustrations after being sent off in the 2019 Copa America third-place playoff.

Lionel Messi has slammed the match official of Saturday's Argentina versus Chile clash, and has cited corruption at Copa America after being sent off during the third-place playoff.

The Albiceleste skipper was made to grab an early shower following a headbutt incident which featured him and Gary Medel in the first-half. Neverthless, the Barcelona star's ill-fate did no harm to his side's chance of securing the bronze medal with Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala grabbing the goals despite Arturo Vidal subsequent successful attempt from the penalty spot.

Angered by the turn-off events, Messi showed very little restraint in criticising the actions of the referee following the end of proceedings. In retrospect, the aftermath of the semi final defeat to Brazil drew a similar reaction where the Rosario-born striker slammed the match officials while questioning the essence of VAR amid claims of genuine infringements being overlooked for his side.

Messi, who did not join his teammates at the medal collection cerremony, went a step further in his rant to accuse CONMEBOL of "corruption". The 32-year-old Argentinian striker insinuated that everything has been staged for Brazil to emerge as continental champions coming up against Peru in the final on Sunday.

"I think that what happened (the red card) is because of what I said (after the semifinal)," he was quoted to have said according to AS.

"What I said last time perhaps came back to haunt me. A yellow card would have been enough to put an end to it.

"We are leaving this Copa with a win but above all with our heads held high and the feeling that this time football wasn't fair with us.

"There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil.

"I hope the VAR and referees don't play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me," he continued.

"I didn't want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn't have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America.

"We could have gone further but we weren't allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football. I always tell the truth and I'm honest, that is what keeps me calm, if what I say has repercussions that is not my business."

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