Lionel Messi refuses to collect bronze medal and says the Copa America is 'corrupt'


Argentina beat Chile to finish third in the Copa America on Saturday night thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala.

And yet it was Lionel Messi's straight red card that dominated headlines after he was involved in a heated clash with Gary Medel.

In the 37th minute, Messi nudged Medel as the ball rolled out of play and Medel reacted by headbutting and barging the Barcelona man.

Messi did nothing more than stand his ground as Medel fumed, but the referee decided to send both players off.

Replays showed Messi was completely innocent, so you can imagine he was furious as he walked down the tunnel.

So furious, in fact, that the 32-year-old refused to leave the dressing room to collect his bronze medal after the game.

Messi was absent for Argentina's squad photo (see below) and he later gave an angry interview explaining that he didn't want to be part of the "corruption" at the Copa America.


"What I said happened," he began. "I didn't go to the podium because we shouldn't be part of the corruption and lack of respect.

"We were meant for more but they didn't let us be in the final. The corruption and the refs 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.

"Hopefully the refs and VAR will have nothing to do with it and Peru will be able to compete because they have the team to do it."

Messi could face punishment for saying the Copa America is corrupt and it was set up for Brazil to win, but you can see why he's so annoyed.

A lot of decisions went against Argentina throughout the tournament - they should have had two penalties against Brazil - and Messi getting a straight red card was the final straw.

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