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Messi slams Brazilian police for brutality forward of World Cup qualifier




Lionel Messi says police behaved with brutality, beating Argentine followers on the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro throughout Brazil’s World Cup qualifying defeat.

Argentina captain Lionel Messi has accused Brazilian police of brutality as the beginning of their World Cup qualifier towards Brazil was delayed by half an hour after clashes between police and visiting followers at Maracana Stadium.

Brazilian and Argentine followers began preventing behind one of many targets through the nationwide anthems on Tuesday, prompting police to cost on the travelling contingent with evening sticks drawn.

Argentina followers responded by ripping up and throwing seats on the officers as different spectators panicked and got here onto the pitch to flee the preventing.

One Argentina fan lay on the sector with a bloodied face earlier than being taken from the stadium on a stretcher.

The Argentina group went over to the terraces to attempt to calm the scenario earlier than leaving the pitch and returning to the dressing room.

“It was unhealthy as a result of we noticed how they had been beating individuals … The police, because it already occurred within the Libertadores closing, had been as soon as once more repressing the individuals with evening sticks, there have been gamers who had households over there,” Messi stated in a pitchside tv interview.

“We went to the locker room as a result of it was one of the simplest ways to calm every thing down. It may have resulted in tragedy.

“You concentrate on the households, the people who find themselves there, who don’t know what’s occurring and we had been extra involved about that than taking part in a match that, at that time, was of secondary significance.”

Brazil captain Marquinhos, who may very well be seen interacting with Messi and the Argentina gamers as they tried to calm the scenario, shared the considerations.

“We had been anxious in regards to the households, girls and kids, that we had been seeing in panic up there within the stands,” Marquinhos instructed reporters.

“Down on the pitch it was arduous for us to grasp what was occurring, it was a really scary scenario.”

Emiliano Martinez of Argentina and teammates react as police officers clash with fans prior to a FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina at Maracana Stadium on November 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The match was delayed due to incidents in the stands. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Emiliano Martinez of Argentina and teammates react as law enforcement officials conflict with followers previous to a FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina at Maracana Stadium on November 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The match was delayed attributable to incidents within the stands. (Photograph by Buda Mendes/Getty Pictures)

FIFA President Gianni Infantino condemned the incident on Wednesday.

“With out exception, all gamers, followers, employees and managers must be protected and guarded to play and luxuriate in soccer and I urge the competent authorities to make sure that is revered in any respect ranges,” Infantino stated in a press release.

There have been violent clashes between followers of Argentina’s Boca Juniors and Brazil’s Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro forward of the Copa Libertadores closing between the golf equipment this month.

On Tuesday, the Argentina gamers ultimately returned, after police corralled the visiting followers right into a pen and the match began after a prolonged delay.

Argentina gained 1-0 with a 63rd-minute headed objective from defender Nicolas Otamendi and celebrated the victory over their fiercest rivals in entrance of their followers on the identical finish of the bottom the place the difficulty occurred.

It was a 3rd straight defeat for five-times World Cup winners Brazil, who had midfielder Joelinton despatched off 18 minutes from time.

© AAP



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