An angry Lionel Messi skipped the Copa America medal ceremony and accused referees of “corruption” following Argentina’s failure to win the tournament and his rare red card in Saturday’s 2-1, third-place, playoff victory over Chile in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Minutes before half-time, Messi clashed with Gary Medel after the Chile defender had shepherded the ball out of play near his goal. The two players aggressively bumped chests a number of times before match referee Mauro Diaz de Vivar intervened and immediately flashed red cards for both.
The 32-year-old Barcelona captain, later went on to shun the medal presentation, before launching another attack against the continent’s football governing body and the referees.
“There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil,” he fired, before suggesting that he paid the price for his previous outburst against the refereeing of the semi final.