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Dani Alves Criticises 'Disrespectful' Lionel Messi Copa America Corruption Talk

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2019

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JULY 02: Lionel Messi of Argentina fights for the ball with Dani Alves of Brazil during the Copa America Brazil 2019 Semi Final match between Brazil and Argentina at Mineirao Stadium on July 02, 2019 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Juliana Flister/Getty Images)
Juliana Flister/Getty Images

Brazil captain Dani Alves has criticised Argentina counterpart Lionel Messi after he accused South American governing body CONMEBOL of corruption and setting up the 2019 Copa America to favour the Selecao. 

Argentina lost 2-0 to Brazil—who went on to win the tournamentin the semi-finals before Messi was controversially sent off against Chile in the third place play-off.

Alves is close friends with his former Barcelona team-mate, but he told SporTV's Bem, Amigos (h/t Goal):

"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.

"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."

Messi had strong words for CONMEBOL and the officiating at the Copa America after the play-off, per Copa90:

COPA90 @COPA90

😬 STRONG, strong words from Leo Messi... https://t.co/H4QHKN1VTz

Like Alves, Brazil boss Tite has also hit out at the Argentinian's comments:

Goal @goal

Tite has fired back at Messi's allegations of Copa America corruption! 😮 https://t.co/UhmA7BmbjH

It's understandable Messi might feel aggrieved in light of some of the decisions that went against Argentina in their semi-final and play-off.

In the former, although Brazil were overall the better side, referee Roddy Zambrano failed to award what appeared to be two clear penalties in Argentina's favour.

Alves barged Sergio Aguero over—just moments before Brazil took the ball to the other end on the counter and scored their second goal—while Nicolas Otamendi looked to be fouled by Arthur at a corner.

In the play-off, Messi and Chile's Gary Medel were both sent off after an altercation in which the latter was the aggressor (U.S. only):

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

DOUBLE RED CARD 🔴 🔴 Lionel Messi and Gary Medel are both sent off after an altercation! https://t.co/BiuPwE9iVX

Ben Hayward of the Evening Standard and football writer Peter Coates were among many who could scarcely believe the decision:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

There have been a few (although not many) instances in Messi’s career where he could perhaps justifiably have been sent off. These two reds he has received for Argentina were not even worthy of yellow cards...

Peter Coates @golazoargentino

Ten v ten then but I don't see how Lionel Messi can get sent off for that. Such an odd decision

The Albiceleste captain did not join his team-mates to collect a bronze medal after the play-off, which Argentina won 2-1.

Argentina are co-hosting the 2020 Copa America with Colombia, but the 32-year-old might not be able to feature if CONMEBOL responds to his comments with a severe punishment.

According to the Mirror's James Whaling, insulting the governing body could result in a suspension from international football for up to two years.

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