Messi: I Didn’t Insult The Assistant, I Said It To The Air
Lionel Messi has denied charges that he insulted the assistant referee in the recent World Cup qualifier against Chile.
Messi has been handed a controversial four-match ban due to the incident, where he allegedly said “**** off, the **** of your mother”, but the Argentina star insists he was simply talking to himself:
“My comments were never directed at the first assistant, they were comments made to the air.”
Both Argentina and Barcelona have hit out at the severity of the FIFA ban, with the Argentine Football Association’s vice president accusing the game’s governing body of double standards.
“If he behaved out of place, then he should be penalised like any other player,” Armando Perez said.
“He should not get a different deal just because he is the best player on the planet. It seems to me that he is in a position to be investigated.
“CONMEBOL is asking for all of the information. Everything that we know must be passed on.”
If the ban is allowed to stand then Messi will miss three of the remaining four games of Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaign, with the team currently in the playoff position in fifth.
Argentina have won just two of seven games when Messi has been absent during the qualification process.
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