‘The Copa is set up for Brazil’ – Messi hits out at CONMEBOL ‘corruption’

first_imgLionel Messi was a conspicuous absence from the Copa America third-place medal ceremony and blasted CONMEBOL for “corruption” after seeing red in the first half against Chile. The Barcelona star laid on Argentina’s first goal on Saturday for Sergio Aguero to convert, before Paulo Dybala made it 2-0 within 22 minutes. But moments later Messi was leaving the field after tangling with notorious Chile enforcer Gary Medel .  Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare While Medel appeared to be the clear aggressor in their clash, referee Mario Diaz de Vivar showed both men the red card while players from both sides continued to join the brawl. Messi was left bemused by the decision and walked off the pitch, as Argentina held on to win the third place play-off 2-1 despite Arturo Vidal’s penalty after half time. But when the Argentina team came back out on the Arena Corinthians turf to receive their medals, Leo was nowhere to be seen. The Albiceleste captain did not take any part in the ceremony, after a Copa where he has hit the headlines more for his outbursts against organisers Brazil and CONMEBOL than his exploits on the pitch. And when he finally addressed reporters from the stadium he launched a withering condemnation of the competition’s organisation in supposed favour of the hosts.Argentina Chile Copa America 2019“There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil,” he fired, before suggesting that he paid the price for his previous outburst against the refereeing of the semi final.”I hope the VAR and referees don’t play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me.”I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn’t have to be part of this disrepect we suffered during the Copa America.”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.”I always tell the truth and I’m honest, that is what keeps me calm, if what I say has repercussions that is not my business. “I think that what happened is because of what I said [against Brazil].”What I said last time perhaps came back to haunt me. With a yellow card that was the end of it.”Messi previously criticised the playing surfaces at the Copa America following Argentina’s last-eight victory over Venezuela, labelling the pitches “shameful” after a subdued performance. But it was in the aftermath of Tuesday’s defeat that he really let loose, incensed by the failure of match official Roddy Zambrano to refer two penalty calls to VAR in Brazil’s 2-0 victory.  “They were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Aguero] they didn’t award,” Messi told reporters.”They [the officials] had booked a lot of bullsh*t, but they didn’t even check the VAR, that’s incredible.”That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil’s] favour and this kind of bullsh*t distracted us from the game.”last_img read more

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Copa America Blue Samurai to unleash Japanese Messi

first_imgTokyo: On a continent where “imitation” Galacticos are a dime a dozen, Japan’s Takefusa Kubo could just be the real deal. Snapped up by Real Madrid on Friday from under the noses of some of the world’s other top clubs, the teenage sensation is about to demonstrate why he is known as the “Japanese Messi” at the tender age of 18. The youngster, described by Real as one of the most promising players in world football, is set to create a buzz at this month’s Copa America in Brazil after earning his first senior call-up for the Blue Samurai. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ MedvedevRarely an Asian football tournament goes by without a “Thai Zico,” an “Iraqi Cristiano Ronaldo” or even a “North Korean Wayne Rooney” among the team rosters. But it was Kubo who was invited to Barcelona’s youth academy as a scrawny nine-year-old where he earned his nickname for his mazy dribbling skills. Though the Catalan giants were keen to retain him, Real Madrid took the plunge, heading off interest from Manchester City, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’shipsThe midfielder signed from FC Tokyo could come face-to-face with Argentina wizard Messi at the Copa America depending on results in the group stage. Kubo is one of 17 uncapped players in coach Hajime Moriyasu’s new-look Japan squad as the tournament guests look to build for next year’s Tokyo Olympics but is destined to attract by far the most interest. The world’s biggest clubs have been tracking his progress since he appeared in the 2017 Under-20 World Cup — at just 15. Earlier the same year he became the J-League’s youngest goalscorer, triggering the sort of hype once reserved for the likes of Japan greats Hidetoshi Nakata and Keisuke Honda. A YouTube sensation as a pint-sized toddler, Kubo none the less rejects comparisons to Barcelona hero Messi. “I don’t like being compared to Messi,” he said. “But one day I hope to be able to play like him.” Slightly taller than Messi at 1.73 metres (5ft 8in), Kubo has a similarly low centre of gravity to the Argentina legend and an eye for a defence-splitting pass. Japan face Chile in their opening Copa America in Sao Paolo on Monday, while Uruguay and Ecuador, also in group C, meet Sunday. Kubo, who could become the face of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, insists Japan’s “Baby Samurai” will go into the competition with no fear. “Teams like Brazil will definitely be serious about winning,” he told local media. “We will have to match the desire of our opponents when we get on the pitch.” Earlier this year, Moriyasu left big-name players such as Honda, Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki out of the Asian Cup squad that were beaten 3-1 in the final by Qatar. “We are looking to bring in a new generation of players,” Moriyasu said of his Copa selection. “It’s a good opportunity for them to gain some valuable experience.” Kubo’s former club manager Kenta Hasegawa backed the midfielder to seize his chance to shine on the world stage. “Takefusa doesn’t need a babysitter, he has matured a lot,” the FC Tokyo boss told Japanese media. “This kind of opportunity might only come around once in a lifetime — he will only benefit from the experience.”last_img read more

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