Close-up angle shows the Lionel Messi-Gary Medel incident in clear detail


Lionel Messi received just the second red card of his career against Chile on Saturday night.

Having become embroiled in an incident with Gary Medel, the decision was taken that both players would be dismissed, despite the Chilean looking to have been far more aggressive.

In fact, it was actually difficult to point out what Messi had actually done wrong, bar tensing his chest to not be pushed to the ground by Medel's continued approaches.

Is that to say that Medel was overly aggressive? Not particularly, but you're always taking a massive risk when you move your head towards another player near the referee.

However, just a few days after Argentina were on the wrong end of questionable decisions against Brazil, this latest episode is leaving them frustrated all over again. 

Outrage as Messi red card

According to AS, Lionel Scaloni remarked after the game: "I have seen the video and so far, I do not understand what he did to have been expelled. 

"Obviously, he made a very quick decision, very strange, and worst of all is that the VAR does not correct, because for this there is the VAR. The VAR is here to help, and today it did not help."

So, what's the argument against Messi? Well, it's best summarised by fans claiming that Messi started the incident and - in the words of journalist Tancredi Palmeri - used a very nasty stamp.


Close-up footage of the incident

The best way to review those claims is by looking at the replays and close-up footage of the double sending off gives a view of the incident from as near as the cameras could get.

The push? Well, it barely knocks Medel of course at all. The alleged stamp? Sure, Messi doesn't make contact with the ball, but it looks more like a minimal kick to the shin.

As for Medel, the close-up angle shows that he pushes Messi once, bodychecks him on at least four occasions - some of which could be classed as more - and then goes for the headbutt late on.

Check out the footage down below:

It's hard to say with any seriousness that Messi deserved a red card for that incident, too.

There's also an argument that Medel was only worthy of a yellow card and that could every well have been the case on another day, but he was certainly pushing his luck.

If anything, the former Cardiff City midfielder should count himself lucky that Messi didn't go to ground because plenty of players would have made the clash look much worse.


Should Messi have gone for the push? Absolutely not, but the clearest angles show that Messi simply didn't use the same amount of physical force as his Chilean rival.

Ultimately, the decision saw Messi refuse his bronze medal and call the competition 'corrupt', while his way for that evasive international trophy rumbles on.

Do you think Messi should have been sent off? Have your say in the comments section below.

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