Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva hit out at Barcelona's Lionel Messi after Brazil's 1-0 defeat to Argentina on Friday, accusing the forward of influencing the referee to get favourable decisions.
Per Sport, Brazil captain Silva said the official's admiration of the forward played to Argentina's advantage. He added La Liga-based players said he does the same thing in Spain:
"He wanted to rule over the game. He kicked two people and the referee did nothing. I argued with the ref and he kept laughing. You have to put admiration to one side.
"He always looks to force the referee to give them free-kicks in dangerous areas, he always acts in that way. We spoke with some players who play in Spain and the same thing happens, he looks to control the game and the referee's decisions.
"In the Champions League, he doesn't have that advantage because the referees are tougher. You don't see him trying to rule so much. There are referees that, because of their admiration for him, start to weigh in on his side."
He also took issue with Messi's conduct toward manager Tite, after he told the tactician to keep quiet: "It's hard to understand when we talk about respect on the pitch, and one of the most admired players in the world does that, you don't do that to an older person, but being that it was a coach...as much as there is rivalry, respect has to come first."
Per Reuters (for ESPN FC), Tite told reporters he and Messi had a verbal altercation during the contest, with both men telling the other to shut their mouth.
Cameras caught Messi shushing Tite:
Argentina avenged their 2-0 Copa America semi-final loss to the Selecao in Friday's friendly, courtesy of a 14th-minute penalty from the 32-year-old. Messi won the penalty himself, and the Brazilians did not agree with the decision to award it after light contact with Alex Sandro.
Goalkeeper Alisson Becker was able to save Messi's initial effort, but he parried the ball back into his feet.
It was Messi's first outing with the Albiceleste since the Copa America, where he was sent off in the third-place play-off match and later suspended.
Per Marca, the suspension came after he accused CONMEBOL of favouring the host nation Brazil during the tournament. The Selecao wound up winning the Copa America, their first since 2007.