Brazil’s national men’s soccer team coach Tite has hit back at Argentina forward Lionel Messi over the latter’s remark that the Copa America had been rigged in favour of the host country. Tite said that Messi needed to be more respectful.
Notably, Messi had earlier made comments in which he appeared to accuse the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) of corruption and raised questions about the manner in which Brazil had reached the tournament’s final, reports Efe news.
“Here, I considered him an extraordinary player, extraterrestrial, but he needs to have a little more respect and understand and accept when he is beaten,” Tite said during the post-match press conference after Brazil won the final against Peru 3-1 on Monday.
“We were wronged in several matches here and in the World Cup. Be careful with what you say, because each one has his own situation,” Tite added.
After the match for the third place, in which Argentina beat Chile 2-1, the FC Barcelona legend lashed out against CONMEBOL.
“I didn’t go to the award ceremony because of a little bit of everything. I think we don’t need to be a part of that corruption, of the lack of respect we faced during this Copa,” said a discontented Messi after the game.
“I’m leaving with the sense that they didn’t let us be in the final, that we could’ve done more,” he added, presumably pointing to the referee’s refusal in the semi-final against Brazil to use the Video Assistant Referee system to review two possible penalties claimed by Argentina.
Consequences of Messi’s comments had also led to CONMEBOL criticising the Argentina forward by releasing a statement on Saturday.
“It is unacceptable that, following individual incidents in the competition, where 12 teams took part, all in equal conditions, unfounded accusations have been made that are lacking in truth and call into question the integrity of the Copa America,” read the CONMEBOL’s statement.
“In soccer, sometimes one wins and sometimes one loses, and a fundamental pillar of fair play is to accept the results with loyalty and respect. The same goes for the decisions made the referees, who are human and will always be perfectible,” it added.
(With inputs from IANS)