Soccer body CONMEBOL suspended Lionel Messi from international matches for three months because of accusations of corruption he made at the latest Copa América. Barcelona star Messi was sent off, along with aggressor Gary Medel, after an altercation as Argentina beat Chile 2-1 in the competition's third-place play-off last month, the referee's decision appearing especially curious as he did not look back at the footage on the pitch-side VAR monitor. After the match, Messi did not appear with his team-mates to collect a medal, sparking questioning from reporters.
Messi explained his snub of the ceremony as not wanting to "be part of this corruption, this lack of respect towards the whole Copa". The 32-year-old will not play for Argentina matches in September against Chile and Mexico, plus another two in October versus Germany and another adversary to be picked.
Messi is already suspended from the first match of the South American World Cup qualifiers next March because of the apparently undeserved red card he received against Chile. When asked if he feared being suspended for his comments, he said “the truth needed to be told.” Messi later sent an apology to CONMEBOL for his remarks.