After a 3 month ban from international football, Argentina has recalled Lionel Messi which may see him playing in their international friendly tonight against Brazil. Messi who received the ban for calling the Copa America tournament “corrupt” was last seen on the international arena when he was sent off during Argentina’s third place playoff against Chile in the Copa America tournament in July.
This international friendly will mark the first meeting between Brazil and Argentina since their clash at the Copa America semi-finals in July, where Brazil emerged with a 2-0 victory over their South American rivals.
Messi was sent off with a red card during the Argentina vs Chile match after and altercation with Chilean footballer Gary Medel in the 37th minute of the game. He was given a US$1.5k ban as well a one match ban for the encounter. How was the accusations that he made afterwards that the officials were conspiring to help Copa Amreica hosts Brazil, win the tournament, that earned him a 3 month ban from international play as he went onto say :
“There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil,”
“… 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”
Messi made these accusations after Argentina lost to Brazil in the semi-finals after he accused the officials of not awardnig his team two penalties from fouls committed against fellow team mates Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Aguero during the encounter. He went on to add:
“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.”
These comments are what led to his 3 month ban from international play as well as a hefty $50K fine from CONMEBOL.