The 2022 World Cup is in full swing with 32 clubs representing their respective nations in Doha, Qatar. Over the weekend, Argentina defeated Mexico 2-0 in the group stage to increase its chances of advancing to the next round, while dwindling the hopes of Mexico.
Lionel Messi, Argentina’s best player, helped his club cruise past the Mexican team by firing a laser at the 64-minute mark to put the Albicelestes up 1-0. Enzo Fernandez went on to seal the deal with an impressive goal of his own 22 minutes later. But, the story that has been stealing headlines is what happened afterward. Messi drew the ire of Mexican boxing mega star, Canelo Alvarez, after the champion saw a video that showed the Argentinean “kick” a Mexican jersey that was on the floor while he was changing post-game.
Here is the video of the alleged incident, which shows Messi making contact with the jersey on the floor as he was removing his cleat:
Alvarez immediately opened up his Twitter account and threatened Messi for what he perceived as disrespect.
“Did you guys see Messi cleaning the floor with our jersey and flag?” he asked before immediately tweeting a threat, which was later removed by Twitter for violating its policies.
“He better pray to God that I don’t find him.”
Since Messi is a national treasure in Argentina, several of his fans, colleagues and fellow athletes came to his defense, including UFC Welterweight veteran, Santiago Ponzinibbio, who was born in La Plata, Argentina.
“I was pissed,” Ponzinibbio told MMA Fighting. “No point threatening Messi — everybody knows Messi’s career. If [Alvarez] doesn’t know he shouldn’t say a thing. It’s normal for players to throw jerseys on the ground, they are all sweaty, but he didn’t do anything disrespectful. Everybody that knows Messi knows he’s an impeccable athlete and a very respectful person.”
Ponzinibbio went on to say if Alvarez wants a fight he needs to pick on someone who can throw hands, like himself, instead of a soccer player.
“[Messi] had an excellent match,” Ponzinibbio continued. “I was upset. Brother, if you want to fight, I’m ready, but leave Messi be. You mess with Messi, you mess with entire Argentina. Don’t bother the kid.”
Messi has yet to comment on the situation.
Ponzinibbio is set to return to action against Robbie Lawler at the upcoming UFC 282 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Dec. 10, 2022, while Alvarez currently doesn’t have a contract set for his next boxing match. As for Messi and Argentina, they will next face Poland tomorrow (Weds., Nov. 30, 2022) in a potentially must-win (or tie) game.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 282 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (on ESPN2/ESPN+) at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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