Lionel Messi has been slapped with a three-month ban from international football after accusing South America’s football governing body CONMEBOL of corruption after Argentina’s exit from Copa America 2019.
The Argentine talisman was sent off for a scuffle with Chile star Gary Medel during the Copa America third-place playoff. Though Argentina went on to win the encounter 2-1, Messi didn’t come out to collect his third-place medal.
After the encounter, when he was quizzed by the reporters about why he chose to boycott the ceremony, the Barcelona star accused CONMEBOL of corruption.
“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. 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,” he had said.
Considered one of the greatest players of all time, Messi wasn’t happy with the refereeing during Argentina’s 2-0 semi-final loss to arch-rivals Brazil as well. When asked if he could be handed suspension or fine for his comments, Messi had said that “the truth needed to be told.”
He has also been fined $50,000 by CONMEBOL and will miss Argentina’s friendly encounters vs Chile, Mexico and Germany.