Referee's report explains Lionel Messi's controversial sending off vs Chile


The great tragedy of Lionel Messi's international career entered its latest saga on Saturday night. 

If the Argentine does retire after his country's Copa America exit, then his final act on the world stage will have been a sending off for his spat with Gary Medel. 

The Chilean looked to be the chief aggravator, driving his head towards the Barcelona forward. 

However, the referee deemed the 32-year-old just as guilty and sent them both for an early bath. 

Messi has spoken openly - perhaps too openly, in fact - about his feelings on the officiating at the tournament.

Indeed, it wasn't immediately clear what the Albiceleste's talisman had actually done wrong. 

Replays showed a light kick out from behind, but that ought not to have provoked such a strong reaction from either Medel or the man in yellow. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner took to Instagram after the final whistle to lament his nation's latest heartache. 

That was perhaps inevitable, but what's more intriguing is the viewpoint of the referee himself. 

His report was eagerly anticipated after the game, with Messi's sending off the main talking point, and its contents have now been released by Mundo Deportivo. 

According to the Spanish newspaper, Mario Díaz de Vivar claimed he had "no choice" but to dismiss Messi for "a strong blow with the shoulder". 


The Paraguayan claims he saw the number 10 "confront the opponent in an incident that happened when the ball no longer it was in game". 

It wasn't the alleged stamp, therefore, but an equally minimal shoulder barge, when Messi looked to be trying to defend himself from Medel's head. 

As for the midfielder, the referee accused him of "brutally beating with the chest and arm the opponent". Once again, possibly a slight exaggeration.  

In the grand scheme of things, the second red card of Messi's career will mean little, coming in a relatively meaningless third-place play-off. 

All it has achieved is add to the growing sense, at least within his own camp, that arguably the greatest player of all time has been unjustly denied another shot at lifting an international trophy. 

Was the referee right to send off Messi and Medel? Have your say in the comments. 

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