Barcelona star Lionel Messi captained national team Argentina to a tough victory at altitude against Bolivia on Tuesday in World Cup qualifying, and it’s fair to say that things got a little heated at the end of the contest in La Paz.
The Barcelona star was captured engaged in an angry exchange with Bolivia fitness coach Lucas Nava at the final whistle and did not hold back, according to Sport.
Messi raged: “What’s your problem, baldy? Why are you kicking off, idiot? You don’t have to come and f*ck with me.”
El "¿QUÉ PASA, PELADO?" de Messi me dio años de vida. pic.twitter.com/cmeDFyphib
— TyC Sports (@TyCSports) October 13, 2020
Both sets of players became involved in the scuffle but it was short-lived, as Argentina quickly left the pitch to celebrate their victory.
The visitors had to come from behind after Bolivia opened the scoring. Lautaro Martinez and Angel Correa were on target to make it two wins out of two for Lionel Scaloni’s side at the start of their qualifying campaign.
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Messi Celebrates Argentina Win
Messi took to social media after the game to celebrate Argentina’s win with a post on Instagram. He wrote: “Great triumph at altitude, where it always costs more. There is still a lot to do, the qualifiers have just started and we are very happy to have achieved these two victories.”
Scaloni’s team were expected to pick up the victory, but the conditions in La Paz always made it a tricky fixture. The stadium is 3,600 meters above sea level, meaning it can be physically difficult for players unaccustomed to playing at altitude.
Coach Cesar Farias told ESPN‘s Tim Vickery just how determined his team were to beat their illustrious visitors ahead of the game.
“Playing in the Hernando Siles [the stadium in La Paz] is not like other cities. There’s nothing like it. We have to avoid the Bolivian lament of being the poor little things,” he said. “Let them say that we’re nasty, it doesn’t matter. But we want to eat the liver of our opponents at altitude.”
Yet despite going a goal down after 24 minutes, Argentina did manage to get to grip with the conditions and grind out an important win.
Messi now heads back to Barcelona for a hectic end to the month. Barca face four games in 11 days in La Liga and the Champions League. According to Javier Miguel at AS, Messi could be rested for Saturday’s clash with Getafe because of his exploits with Argentina.