Lionel Messi has spoken out about the need for younger players to show respect.
Argentina suffered a 0-2 defeat to Uruguay in the fifth match of the South American qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2026 at La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday.
It was a matchup of two top-ranked teams. Argentina, who won the last World Cup in Qatar, were in first place. They had won all four of their matches and were well on their way to the next tournament. In addition to the World Cup qualifiers, Argentina had kept eight clean sheets in a row in all A matches, including post-World Cup friendlies.
Uruguay was no slouch. Uruguay was in third place with two wins, one draw, and one loss. They started with a 3-1 win over Chile in the first round, but then lost to Ecuador and drew with Colombia. They bounced back with a 2-0 win over powerhouse Brazil last month.
The home team, Argentina, lined up in a 4-3-3 formation. Gonzalez, Alvarez, Messi, Enzo, McAllister, De Paul, Tagliapico, Otamendi, Romero, and Molina started. Martinez was in goal.
Uruguay countered with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Núñez, Araujo, de la Cruz, Pellistri, Valverde, Ugarte, Vigna, Olivera, Caceres, and Araujo. Rochette wore the goalkeeping gloves.
Uruguay struck first. In the 10th minute, Araujo’s long ball was collected by Núñez, but his shot went wide of the side netting. Then, in the 12th minute, a ball from Núñez bounced off the defense and found Pellistri, who slid the ball to Araujo, who shot straight at the keeper.
Argentina fought back. In the 13th minute, off a pass from Enzo, Messi beat a defender outside the box and fired a left-footed shot that Rochette saved. Uruguay had another chance. In the 28th minute, Araujo’s backheeled ball was met by La Cruz, who rushed into the box, but his header was not on target.
Uruguay continued to push forward. In the 40th minute, a long ball into the box was quickly collected by Núñez and crossed to the other side, where Pellistri tried to get on the end of it but was denied by the Argentine defense. Uruguay finally took the lead. In the 41st minute, Vigna won a contested cross and Araujo slotted the ball into the back of the net with his right foot.
It was Argentina’s first goal in about 11 months. Throughout the first half, Argentina struggled against Uruguay’s quick counterattacks. Argentina finally broke through in the 45th minute when Messi unleashed an exquisite left-footed free kick, but it didn’t lead to a goal and the score remained 0-1 at halftime.
Uruguay continued to dominate after the start of the second half. In the first minute of the second half, Araujo played a long ball to the other side of the box, but Núñez couldn’t get to it. Argentina didn’t stand still. In the ninth minute of the second half, they were awarded a free kick when Dimaria was fouled just outside the box. Messi stepped up to take the kick, but the ball hit the post.
Argentina continued to try to catch up. In the 32nd minute, substitute Di Maria tried a sharp shot from inside the box that was blocked by the keeper. Then in the 36th minute, Di Maria again tried a dribbling run and shot that went wide of the post.
Instead, the chances fell to Uruguay. In the 41st minute, Uruguay stole the ball from Argentina and Núñez, who received the ball, made a quick run up from the halfway line and beat the goalkeeper one-on-one. In the end, Argentina had to settle for a 0-2 loss to Uruguay.
Emotions ran high during the match. Emotions ran high during the match, as both teams played hard and physical throughout. In the 19th minute, Olivera and De Paul collided in the Uruguayan penalty area. The collision spread to players from both teams, with Messi rushing over and grabbing Olivera’s throat. The action stemmed from Ugarte’s inappropriate language toward De Paul.
After the match, Messi strongly criticized Uruguay. He said: “This is normal. These kind of matches against Uruguay, qualifiers, have always been like that. I don’t really like to say what I think. But young players must learn to respect their seniors. These kinds of matches have always been intense and hard, but they have always been respectful. They need to learn,” he added.
Messi already boasts one of the best careers in soccer history. He’s won every world title a soccer player can win. He’s won the Ballon d’Or, the Treble, the Champions League, the Copa America, and the Olympics.
He’s even been a part of the last World Cup. Starting with the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Messi has played in five World Cups, but has failed to lift the trophy each time. At the last World Cup in Qatar, which was likely to be his last, he finally won the title, beating France.
During the World Cup, Messi scored seven goals and provided three assists in seven games. Winning the World Cup cemented Messi’s place alongside Argentine legend Diego Maradona as a true “GOAT” in soccer history.
After fulfilling his final dream, Messi hinted at retiring from the World Cup squad, but soon announced his return. In June, during the A-Match, Messi appeared in a friendly against Australia and continued to attend the national team’s games. Reports have also surfaced that Messi could be a wildcard for next year’s Paris Olympics.
He recently won the Ballon d’Or for the eighth time in his career. The Ballon d’Or is the most prestigious award a soccer player can receive. Messi is on track to make history by winning the Ballon d’Or again in 2023, following his previous seven awards in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.