Lionel Messi, Argentina Boycott Media After Ezequiel Lavezzi Marijuana Report

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2016

Argentina's Lionel Messi gestures during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match against Colombia in San Juan, Argentina, on November 15, 2016. / AFP / EITAN ABRAMOVICH        (Photo credit should read EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi and the entire Argentina team boycotted media members by walking out of a press conference following the team's 3-0 victory over Colombia on Tuesday night, according to BBC Sport.

The boycott was in response to a report that alleged Ezequiel Lavezzi had smoked marijuana, a claim the forward denied.

"We've received many accusations, a lot of lack of respect and we never said anything," Messi said. "We know there are lots of you who are not in the game of not showing us respect, but getting into one's personal life is very grave."

Reporter Gabriel Anello suggested on Twitter that Lavezzi had been left off the substitutes bench because he had smoked a joint following a training session, per ESPN FC.

Lavezzi has denied the claim and has vowed to take legal action against Anello. And Messi and his teammates quickly rushed to defend him.

"This accusation against Lavezzi was it," Messi said of the team's breaking point with media criticism into the players' lives off the pitch. "If we don't stop it today, we'll never stop it. We know that you will continue to criticize us, that's fine. However, some got into our personal lives."

Coming into Tuesday night, the criticism into the team on the pitch was understandable. The Argentines suffered a 3-0 loss to Brazil in a World Cup qualifier on Friday evening and, even following Tuesday's win, were still in fifth place in South America qualifying. 

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The top four teams from South America will automatically earn a bid to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with fifth place qualifying for an intercontinental playoff.


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