Furious at having been sent off for just the second time in his career, Lionel Messi criticised CONMEBOL after Argentina’s 2-1 victory over Chile in the third-place play-off.
The Albiceleste captain did not take any part in the ceremony, after a Copa where he has hit the headlines more for his outbursts against organisers Brazil and CONMEBOL than his exploits on the pitch.
And when he finally addressed reporters from the stadium he launched a withering condemnation of the competition’s organisation in supposed favour of the hosts.
“There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil,” he fired, before suggesting that he paid the price for his previous outburst against the refereeing of the semi final.
“I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn’t have to be.
“I always tell the truth and I’m honest, that is what keeps me calm, if what I say has repercussions that is not my business.
“I think that what happened is because of what I said [against Brazil].
“What I said last time perhaps came back to haunt me. With a yellow card that was the end of it.”
Messi previously criticised the playing surfaces at the Copa America following Argentina’s last-eight victory over Venezuela, labelling the pitches “shameful” after a subdued performance.
But it was in the aftermath of Tuesday’s defeat that he really let loose, incensed by the failure of match official Roddy Zambrano to refer two penalty calls to VAR in Brazil’s 2-0 victory.
“They were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Aguero] they didn’t award,” Messi told reporters.
“They [the officials] had booked a lot of bullsh*t, but they didn’t even check the VAR, that’s incredible.
“That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil’s] favour and this kind of bullsh*t distracted us from the game.”