Argentine football icon Lionel Messi has spoken after men of the Brazilian police allegedly brutalized Argentine supporters during the World Cup qualifiers fixture between Brazil and Argentina.
Argentina made history in the iconic fixture, being the first team to defeat Brazil in a World Cup qualifiers fixture at the Brazilian stadium.
The two sides are known to be continental rivals in South America. While the two sides have achieved various feats in the world of football, the rivalry got messy after violence broke out during the Tuesday night fixture.
According to reports, a violent pre-match disturbance halted play for 27 minutes, commencing just after the national anthems. Messi led Argentina into the changing rooms for a 22-minute visit. One spectator exited the stadium with cuts to his head. Eight people were detained by Rio police as a result of the altercation.
Speaking on the incident, Messi called for an immediate end to the assaults on Argentine supporters.
“Tonight we made history but it’s important to say that it’ll be marked by the repression of Brazilians against Argentinians once again”. “It can’t be accepted. It’s madness. It had to stop immediately,” Messi said.
“We saw how the police were hitting people also with some of our families here — it also happened in the Libertadores final. They are more focused on that than on playing the game. We are a family. We decided to play to make situation more calm,” he added.
With 15 points from six games, Argentina is leading the 10-team South American qualifying race. Uruguay is second with 13 points, while Colombia is third. Brazil might finish the year with seven points, in sixth place.
There will be 48 teams competing in the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The top six South American countries will receive direct entry. A spot in an intercontinental playoff playoff is available to the country in seventh place.