Messi snubbed in Brazil-laden Copa Best XI
Argentina star Lionel Messi was not included among the 2019 Copa America Best XI that was released on Tuesday, even though he led the tournament in several notable offensive categories.
Five Brazilians, two Peruvians and one player each from Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile made the cut for the all-star squad that was selected by the coaches of South American Confederation CONMEBOL.
Brazil won their ninth Copa America title on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Peru, while Argentina finished in third place after beating Chile 2-1.
Messi, who had the most through balls in the tournament and suffered the most fouls in his opponents’ half, boycotted the medal ceremony after the Chile win on Saturday, saying he was protesting against the refereeing and “corruption” in the Copa America.
Messi was sent off after getting involved in an altercation in the tense third-place game between the rivals from the last two finals of the South American competition. Veteran Chile midfielder Gary Medel was also red carded after the first-half shoving match with Messi at the Arena Corinthians.
Messi had already complained about the refereeing after Argentina’s 2-0 loss to Brazil in the semifinals, hinting that the result was expected because the hosts were allegedly in charge of South American football. He said he had expected Brazil to win Sunday’s final against Peru, claiming it was already set up for the hosts’ victory.