Lionel Messi acknowledges that he played the 2026 World Cup qualifier against Brazil despite suffering an injury, while the Argentine captain accuses police of “beating people” in obscene pre-match scenes.
While Argentina’s narrow victory over Brazil was marred by police violence in the stands, Lionel Messi disclosed he suffered from an adductor problem.Albiceleste supporters’ alleged booing during the Brazilian national anthem prompted a violent response from the authorities, which included custodian Emi Martinez attempting to intervene. The return of the Argentine players to the locker room caused a thirty-minute delay prior to the resumption of play. Messi disclosed this was a calculated strategy, as his players were distressed by the tumultuous scenes that transpired at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
When questioned by TyC Sports regarding the severe response from law enforcement prior to the match, the Albiceleste captain stated, “Of course, that is dreadful. We observed individuals being struck, as was the case in the Libertadores final, and being repressed with batons once more. There were players accompanied by their families. You become preoccupied with your family, despite the fact that you have no real understanding of the situation, rather than with playing a video game. We observed them assaulting individuals; a terrible consequence could have ensued. We decided to enter once everything had returned to normal, inquire about the relatives, and learn a little bit about the situation. We subsequently went outside.”
Before being substituted for Angel Di Maria after 78 minutes, the 36-year-old hinted that this was due to a knock he had been carrying throughout the entire game, adding: “[It was] adductor discomfort. It was my final game of 2023; I now have the opportunity to recover and begin the year with a clean slate. “I intend to start from scratch and have a fantastic preseason in order to prepare for an outstanding year.”
Notwithstanding the considerable commotion preceding the fierce contest, Messi and company maintained composure and emerged with a razor-thin 1-0 triumph on account of Nicolas Otamendi’s goal. Consequently, Brazil is relegated to a pitiful sixth-place position in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table, while Lionel Scaloni’s squad solidifies its position atop the table. Notwithstanding the magnitude of the triumph, Scaloni seemed to harbour doubts regarding his ability to continue leading full time.
As he alluded to in his post-match interview, the Argentine and Inter Miami star has not participated in a game in a considerable while; therefore, he is currently on break prior to his MLS return the following season. Whether a friendly against eternal rivals Al-Nassr and Cristiano Ronaldo is still possible is unknown, given that Miami on Tuesday denied any such arrangements.