Messi reacts to ‘disrespect’ accusations
Lionel Messi has said he does not need to apologize after being accused by boxing icon Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez of disrespecting Mexico at the World Cup in Qatar.
Alvarez was infuriated by Argentina’s locker room celebrations following their 2-0 win against Mexico last weekend, claiming Messi had sullied a Mexican jersey by kicking it while it lay on the ground.
Footage showed that Messi inadvertently brushed a Mexican shirt with his foot while removing his boot.
Multiple-weight world champion Alvarez posted a series of angry online messages, including a threat that Messi should “pray to god” that their paths don’t cross.
But after Alvarez backed down on Wednesday by issuing an apology, admitting he had been “carried away” by his emotions, Messi himself commented on the row.
“It was a misunderstanding,” the Argentina captain was quoted as saying by TUDN.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t disrespect anyone. It’s locker room stuff that happens after the game.
“I don’t have to apologize because I don’t disrespect the people of Mexico or the shirt.”
Messi was speaking after his team’s match with Poland on Wednesday – a game in which he missed a penalty, but which Argentina still won 2-0 to secure a place in the knockout stages in Qatar.
Mexico missed out on the last 16 in agonizing fashion, finishing third in Group C behind Poland on goal difference.
The Mexicans beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their final group game, but failed to score the third goal which would have edged them ahead of Poland in the standings.
Poland move on to play France in the last 16 on Sunday, while Messi and Argentina meet Australia on Saturday.