Sao Paulo: Argentina's Lionel Messi was handed his first red-card in a 14-year long time span and this decision did not go down very well with the striker as he blasted CONMEBOL (South American football governing body) and said the whole tournament was set up for Brazil's win.
His remarks came after Argentina's 2-1 win over Chile in Copa America's third/fourth playoff match.
"There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil. I hope the VAR and referees don't play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me," Goal.com quoted Messi as saying.
"I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn't have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America. We could have gone further but we weren't allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football," he added.
Chile's Gary Medal and Messi were handed red cards in the 37th minute of the match. Medal was clearly the aggressor, and this decision by the referee was not taken in a good manner by Messi. The striker walked off the field bemused.
During the medal receiving ceremony, Messi did not show up on the field and he did not take any part in the ceremony. Earlier in the tournament, Messi had criticised the ground conditions in Copa America and had even blasted referring decisions.
Messi had blasted the referees after the team's 2-0 loss against Brazil in the semi-final. He said criticising Brazil was a major reason for him getting handed a red card against Chile.
"I always tell the truth and I'm honest, that is what keeps me calm, if what I say has repercussions that are not my business. I think that what happened is because of what I said against Brazil," Messi said.
Brazil takes on Peru in the final of Copa America later today....