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.
Este es el equipo ideal de la CONMEBOL Copa América Brasil 2019, seleccionado por el Grupo de Estudio Técnico (GET) de la @CONMEBOL— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) July 9, 2019
Este é o time ideal da CONMEBOL Copa América Brasil 2019, selecionado pelo Grupo de Estudo Técnico (GET) da @CONMEBOL pic.twitter.com/nhxYSMFODe
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.
When asked if he didn't fear being suspended for his comments, Messi said "the truth needed to be told.''
CONMEBOL, South America's soccer confederation, later released a statement condemning the "unacceptable'' and "baseless accusations'' that discredited the Copa America's integrity.
"In football, sometimes you lose and sometimes you win,'' the statement said. "One of the fundamental pillars of fair play is to accept the results and the refereeing decisions with respect.''
Messi was included on the Best XI in the 2015 and 2016 editions of Copa America.
FULL COPA AMERICA BEST XI SQUAD:
Alisson Becker (Brazil), Dani Alves (Brazil), Jose María Giménez (Uruguay), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Miguel Trauco (Perú), Arthur (Brazil), Leandro Paredes (Argentina), Arturo Vidal (Chile), James Rodríguez (Colombia), Paolo Guerrero (Perú), Everton (Brazil).