‘I didn’t even think we’d get a yellow’: Chile badboy Gary Medel stands up for Lionel Messi after they were both sent off for clash in Copa America match
- Gary Medel was sent off for Chile at the same time as Lionel Messi for Argentina
- They were controversially dismissed in first half of Copa America play-off
- Pair squared up to each other and both recieved marching orders from referee
- Medel defended Messi and said he was surprised that they were punished at all
Gary Medel has come out in defence of Lionel Messi after both players were sent off for a confrontation in the Copa America third place playoff.
Medel, famed for his combative midfield play, squared up to the Argentine talisman, shoving his chest and head towards the striker.
A brief scuffle ensued, prompting the referee to send both players off in the first half of Argentina’s 2-1 victory.
Gary Medel (right) was the aggressor but both he and Lionel Messi (left) were sent off
The pair came out after the game and said they were surprised it was a booking at all
Medel looked the more aggressive of the duo in the incident and Messi reacted with understandable frustration after Mario Diaz de Vivar sent him off too.
The Chilean even admitted after the game that he felt neither he or his opponent should have been booked at all.
‘I agree with Messi, I didn’t even think we’d get a yellow for it,’ he said.
‘There were a few shoves but that was it. The referee could’ve handled that a lot better.’
Messi’s side went on to claim victory without him as Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala scored before Arturo Vidal pulled one back for Chile.
Messi protested his innocence but his game was cut short in the first half of the match
The Barcelona legend sensationally claimed the Copa America is ‘fixed’ for Brazil after the match.
‘We don’t have to be part of this corruption,’ he said. ‘They have showed us a lack of respect throughout this tournament.
‘Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don’t allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit.’
South American Football Confederation Conmebol later responded: ‘It is unacceptable that as a result of incidents typical in competitions, involving 12 teams, all on equal terms, unfounded accusations have been launched that lack the truth and question the integrity of the Copa America.’
Messi has since questioned the integrity of the competition that he labelled ‘corrupt’