‘We knew that the losing team would look for someone to blame’: Copa America referee hits back at Lionel Messi after his furious ‘bull****’ rant
- Lionel Messi blasted ‘bull****’ decisions as Argentina exited Copa America
- The referee has hit back at Messi’s furious rant in aftermath of Brazil defeat
- Roddy Zambrano said: ‘We knew the losers would look for someone to blame’
The referee who Lionel Messi claimed made ‘bull**** decisions as Argentina were dumped out of the Copa America by Brazil last week has hit back at the Barcelona star.
Messi was left incandescent with the performance of referee Roddy Zambrano and the use of VAR and did not hold back in his post-match assessment.
‘At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their (Brazil’s) favour and this kind of bulls*** distracted us from the game,’ he said after goals from Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus helped the hosts reach the final – which they went on to win 3-1 against Peru.
Referee Roddy Zambrano has hit back at Lionel Messi after his furious ‘bull****’ rant
Messi blasted refereeing decisions in an extraordinary tirade after last week’s defeat by Brazil
But Zambrano has now decided to speak out for the first time since last week’s semi-final and claimed he knew that the officials would be made out to be the villains by whoever lost the match.
‘I’m very calm about what happened, I was very transparent in my work, I tried to do my best,’ Zambrano told an Ecuadoran radio station SuperK-800 in response to Messi’s comments.
‘Fortunately everything that was said on the field and everything said in the cabin by VAR has been recorded.
Gabriel Jesus (centre) and Roberto Firmino (left) both scored as Brazil beat Argentina 2-0
Sergio Aguero (second left) also fumed about the referees following the final whistle
‘We knew it was going to be a difficult match, we knew that the losing team would look for someone to blame. We knew that before the match and obviously the guilty parties are going to be us (the officials).’
Messi was particularly incensed by Zambrano’s ‘unbelievable’ decision not to award Argentina a penalty when Sergio Aguero appeared to be tripped by Dani Alves in the area just moments before Firmino’s goal.
Zambrano insisted that the collision ‘was the forward’s fault,’ before adding: ‘I don’t know why they (television) didn’t show the image from behind the goal where you can clearly see that Aguero goes in recklessly.’
Zambrano defended his performance and said losers would always look for someone to blame
Messi, who long-await for glory on the international stage continues, has also been slammed by his former team-mate Dani Alves this week after making claims the Copa America was ‘fixed’ for Brazil to win it.
Alves said: ‘A friend is not always right just because he’s a friend,’ Alves told SporTV’s Bem Amigos. ‘You can say it in the heat of the moment, but I still won’t agree.
‘Firstly, he’s disrespecting an institution such as the Selecao, in my view. Secondly, he’s being disrespectful with several professionals who put a lot of things aside so they could be there fighting for a dream.
‘I’m a friend who always tells the truth when it’s due, and I think he was wrong for saying these things.’
Dani Alves hit back at his former Barcelona team-mate for his ‘disrespectful’ comments