“Learn to respect” Lionel Messi on tension with Uruguay players
Messi was involved in a fight with Manuel Ugarte
Following a tough match that ended Argentina’s winning streak, Lionel Messi publicly denounced the impolite behaviour of Uruguayan players.
Uruguay defeated the hosts 2-0 in the game, which was played as part of the fifth phase of the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, ruining their perfect record. A number of altercations occurred during the game, leading to a particularly heated incident between Rodrigo De Paul of Argentina and Manuel Ugarte of Uruguay.
Ugarte was observed making a lewd gesture at De Paul during one of the numerous fights. In his post-match interview, Lionel Messi opted to provide a more general critique (via Albiceleste Talk) rather than directly address the particular gesture:
“I prefer not to say what I think about some gestures. But these young people have to learn to respect from their elders. This game was always intense and hard but always with a lot of respect. They have to learn a little bit.”
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Argentina, captained by Lionel Messi, tasted defeat for the first time on Thursday, their first since the World Cup final loss to Saudi Arabia. Six days have elapsed since they last experienced the agony of losing, which occurred during their World Cup debut in Qatar, almost a year ago.
The match ended 2-0 at La Bombonera, with Uruguay emerging victorious in a surprising loss. In addition to Argentina’s defeat, the game was noteworthy because it marked the first time since their infamous World Cup final against France that Argentina had given up goals.
Darwin Nunez and Maxi Araujo’s goals broke through La Albiceleste’s unbeatable defence, signalling a momentous occasion. A combination of dissatisfaction and wasted chances led to the setback; the first goal was the consequence of an expensive giveaway, and the second goal crushed any last aspirations of a comeback.
In the grand scheme of things, this loss might not have much of an impact because both nations appear certain to make it to the 2026 World Cup. Nonetheless, it has undoubtedly destroyed the world champs’ aura of invincibility.