Lionel Messi addresses Rodrygo's accusation during Brazil vs Argentina match
Lionel Messi hits back at Brazil's Rodrygo, criticizes police after tense World Cup qualifier clash, Argentina defeats Brazil.
After a tense Brazil vs Argentina 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier clash, Lionel Messi has responded to Selecao star Rodrygo who accused Argentina players of showing cowardly behaviour at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday. Rodrygo called Messi & Co cowards and the Argentine superstar hit back.
Brazilian told Lionel Messi and his Argentina teammate Rodrigo De Paul they were 'cowards' for heading towards the dressing room after getting the news of a tussle between fans and police in the stadium. Messi took his teammate into the changing room. The fight between supporters and security staff delayed the kick-off by 30 minutes.
Brazil hosted Argentina in the WC qualifying game and the game started with a heat from supporters. Fans even damaged chairs in the stadium. They used them as weapons. It was a heating moment at the Maracana Stadium. Police took control but it caused a delay of half an hour.
Argentina's Emiliano Martinez also leapt up towards the stands. He was looking to slap a supporter and later, he was restrained by his teammates. It was full of drama and the situation became crazy. The various part of the stadium was damaged and it caused tension among team players.
According to TyC Sports, Lionel Messi replied to Rodrygo's claim with the simple line - "We are the world champions, why are we cowards? Look at your mouth." Lionel Messi and De Paul were unhappy with this claim. They saw Rodrygo's face in anger. It could have been turned into a heated argument but it was controlled by teammates.
Few players from both teams came together to avoid any extra arguments. The Ballon d'Or winner was seen wrapping a hand around the back of his opponent's neck before he moved away. Irony is Rodrigo De Paul and Rodrygo both play in La Liga.
Lionel Messi also criticised the Brazilian police by making a reference to Fluminense's win over Boca Juniors earlier this month. He said, 'We saw how [police] were hitting the people, it already happened in the Libertadores final. They were more focused on that than on the game."
Messi also explained the reason why they went back to the changing room. he said, "We went to the locker room because it was the best way to calm everything down, a tragedy could have happened. We are a family. We decided to play to make situation more calm."
Argentina defeated Brazil in this encounter to find the winning momentum for the World Cup 2026 qualifiers. Nicolas Otamendi's second-half strike assured Brazil's first-ever home defeat in World Cup qualification.