Gary Medel has backed Lionel Messi following their red-card altercation on Saturday night.The incident occurred during the Copa America third-place play-off between Messi’s Argentina and Medel’s Chile, and saw both players receive their marching orders.The pair confronted each other after the ball ran behind for a Chile goal-kick in the 37th minute, with Medel certainly the aggressor in the situation, as he repeatedly pushed his head and chest towards the Barcelona man. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare However, despite the protracted complaints from Messi and his team-mates, La Albiceleste were reduced to 10 men near the end of the first half.Messi was clearly still furious with referee Mario Diaz de Vivar’s decision after the game and refused to emerge for the post-match medal presentation.He even suggested the Copa America was ‘corrupt’ and that referee decisions had favoured hosts Brazil’s during the competition.”There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil,” Messi said on Saturday evening.”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.Medel also offered his views on the red card after the match and concurred with Messi that the 32-year-old had been harshly treated with the dismissal.“I agree with Messi, didn’t even think we’d get a yellow for it,” the Besiktas man told La Nacion. “There were a few shoves but that was it. The referee could’ve handled that a lot better.”The controversial match finished 2-1 in favour of Argentina, thanks to first-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala, which cancelled out Arturo Vidal’s penalty for Chile in the 59th minute.The disappointing tournament means Argentina’s long wait for a major honour continues, and has now stretched to 26 years since they claimed winners’ medals at the 1993 Copa America.Lionel Scaloni’s side will have another chance to win the South American competition next year, when they co-host the event with Colombia, and it could well offer Messi his last opportunity to lift silverware on the international stage.
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