Lionel Messi referee slams Argentina star over ‘corrupt’ talk – saying he is ‘surprised’ at the reaction – The Sun
THE referee slammed by Lionel Messi in Argentina’s Copa America defeat by Brazil has spoken for the first time – saying he's surprised at the Barcelona star.
Ecuadorian official Roddy Zambrano has spoken about the controversial semi-final, as the Brazilians went on to lift the trophy.
Argentine maestro Messi lashed out at South America's governing body Conmebol after his side beat Chile 2-1 in the third-place play-off.
The Barca ace called the refereeing "bulls***" after officials opted not to use VAR for two clear penalty shouts for Argentina against Brazil.
Speaking about Messi claiming the referee had “favoured Brazil in every play” of the match and the “officiating was crazy”, Zambrano retaliated on radio station Super K-800.
Zambrano said: “He is dedicated to playing and I’ve never had a problem with him, the truth is his words surprised me, but everyone has their own opinion.”
Speaking about possible penalties for Argentina’s Manchester City stars Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Aguero, he said: “Otamendi went in hard and it wasn’t a nudge [on him].
"VAR reviewed it and decided it was 50-50 and I wasn’t called to see it. They didn’t think it was a clear penalty.
“On the first one, it is almost a reckless foul [by Aguero] on the defender. Why didn’t they show the camera angle from behind?”
After the collision between Aguero and Dani Alves, Brazil stormed up the pitch and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino scored their second goal to seal the match.
Alves later slammed Messi for his comments, calling him "disrespectful".
The former Barcelona star said: "A friend is not always right just because he's a friend. You can say it in the heat of the moment, but I still won't agree.
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"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."
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