Argentina star Lionel Messi was banned from playing for his national team for three months and fined US$50,000 on Friday (Aug 2) by CONMEBOL after he heavily criticised the South American football governing body during the Copa America.
The 32-year-old Barcelona forward had accused CONMEBOL of “corruption” after he was sent off against Chile during the third-place play-off during the tournament in Brazil, which ended last month.
Messi was angered by two incidents during the June-July Copa hosted by bitter rivals Brazil.
Argentina were denied two penalty claims in their 2-0 semi-final defeat to the hosts, after which Messi claimed Brazil were “managing a lot in CONMEBOL these days.”
And when he was harshly dismissed in the next game, which Argentina went on to win 2-1, he couldn’t contain his anger.
“Corruption and the referees are preventing people from enjoying the football and they’re ruining it a bit,” Messi said.
Argentina have two friendlies lined up in the United States in September against Chile and Mexico and another in October away to Germany.
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