Soccer

Lionel Messi condemns treatment of Argentina fans during clash with Brazil

Lionel Messi spoke out against the treatment of Argentina’s fans in Brazil (Silvia Izquierdo/AP)
Lionel Messi spoke out against the treatment of Argentina’s fans in Brazil (Silvia Izquierdo/AP) Lionel Messi spoke out against the treatment of Argentina’s fans in Brazil (Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

Lionel Messi says Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Brazil at the Maracana will be “marked by repression of Argentinians” after the game was delayed by crowd trouble.

Kick-off was put back by half-an-hour in Rio de Janeiro as rival fans clashed with police, with both sets of players trying to calm the situation down before eventually returning to the dressing rooms before the game could get under way.

The crowd trouble began during the national anthems as police charged at away supporters using batons, causing a mass brawl which led to some fans spilling on to the pitch to escape the trouble in the stands.

Once the trouble had subsided, Nicolas Otamendi’s second-half header from a corner settled the contest, while Brazil’s Joelinton saw red for a shove on Rodrigo de Paul late on.

The loss condemned the hosts to their third straight defeat in World Cup qualifying and their first ever on home soil.

Lionel Messi said the “great victory” could have ended in “tragedy”.

Brazil Argentina Wcup 2026 Soccer
Brazil Argentina Wcup 2026 Soccer Argentina players tried to calm down the situation in the stands (Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

Quoted on the BBC, he said: “We went to the locker room because it was the best way to calm everything down, it could have ended in tragedy.”

The Ballon d’Or winner added on Instagram: “Great victory in the Maracana, although it will be marked by the repression of the Argentinians in Brazil.

“This can’t be tolerated, it’s insane and it needs to end now!”