Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

Copa America: Lionel Messi claims he and Argentina are victims of 'corruption' after red card in victory over Chile

The Barcelona forward believes his dismissal was in response to his controversial comments after side's semi-final loss to Brazil

Lionel Messi claimed he and Argentina were the victims of "corruption" after he was sent off during his side's 2-1 win over Chile in he third-place play-off at the Copa America on Saturday.

The Barcelona forward was dismissed for a clash with Chile's Gary Medel in the first half of the clash in Sao Paulo.

Messi subsequently failed to attend the medal ceremony post-match and felt he and his team had been targeted by officials and organisers throughout the tournament.

He told reporters: "There was lack of respect toward us during this Copa America.

"We could have done better but they didn't let us make it to the final. Corruption and the referees are not letting the fans enjoy football. This is ruining football."

Messi felt his red card for having a shoving match with Medel was revenge from officials for his comments critical of the officiating after the 2-0 semi-final loss to Brazil on Tuesday.

"Maybe what I said last time played a part today," he said. "A yellow card should have been enough for both players."

Messi also claimed Brazil would win Sunday's final against Peru as the result was already set up and CONMEBOL, South America's football confederation, hit back in a statement.

"In football, sometimes you lose and sometimes you win," the statement said. "One of the fundamental pillars of fair play is to accept the results and the refereeing decisions with respect."

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala gave Argentina the win, with Arturo Vidal pulling one back for Chile from the penalty spot.

Updated: July 7, 2019 08:55 AM

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