Lionel Messi slams CONMEBOL ‘corruption’ and refuses to pick up bronze medal

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Lionel Messi refused to accept the Copa America bronze medal as he skipped the ceremony for the third place finish.

The Barcelona star played a beautiful through ball for Aguero who opened the scoring, before Dybala made it 2-0 within 22 minutes.

But in the 37th minute Messi was send off along with Medel for their altercation.

Lionel Messi received a red card along with Gary Medel

Medel who was clearly the aggressor in their clash, referee Mario Diaz de Vivar showed both men the red card.

Lionel Messi who was shocked to see the red, walked off the pitch, as Argentina held on to win 2-1.

The Albiceleste captain did not take any part in the ceremony as the Argentinian team collected their third-place medals.

And when he finally addressed reporters, he launched a scathing attack on the competition’s organisation.

“There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil,”

he fired.

“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.

“I did not 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.

“I think that what happened is because of what I said [against Brazil].

“What I said last time perhaps came back to haunt me. With a yellow card that was the end of it.”

Before this Messi had criticised the playing surfaces at the Copa America, labelling the pitches “shameful”.

But it was after the defeat against Brazil that he let loose, angry with the failure of match officials to refer to VAR on two penalty calls in Brazil’s 2-0 victory.

“They were not better than us, they found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Aguero] they didn’t award,” Messi told reporters.

“They [the officials] had booked a lot of bullsh*t, but they didn’t even check the VAR, that’s incredible.

“That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil’s] favour and this kind of bullsh*t distracted us from the game.”

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