Boxing superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is calling out soccer icon Lionel Messi for allegedly disrespecting Canelo’s home country by kicking a Mexican jersey during a celebratory World Cup victory video.
In the viral video, Messi and his Argentina teammates can be seen celebrating their 2-0 win World Cup win over Mexico in their locker room. As ESPN notes, a seated Messi appears to lightly kick a Mexican jersey during a team chant.
Alvarez, the undisputed super middleweight champion, fired off a flurry of angry tweets in Spanish beginning with, “Did you see Messi cleaning the floor with our jersey and flag????”
“He better pray to God that I don’t find him!! Just like I respect Argentina, he has to respect Mexico!” he Alvarez continued.
“I’m not talking about the country as a whole, just about the bullshit that Messi did.”
Many defended Messi, claiming that the world’s highest-paid athlete merely touched the Mexican jersey accidentally while removing his cleats.
Others claimed Alvarez threatened violence too quickly, but the Mexican boxer stood his ground: “From the moment the Mexico jersey is on the floor it’s already an insult.”
Former Argentina player Sergio Aguero defended Messi in a direct reply to Alvarez, writing, “Mr. Canelo, don’t look for excuses or problems, surely you don’t know about soccer and what happens in a locker room.”
“The jerseys are always on the floor after games due to sweat and then if you see well, he makes the movement to remove the [cleat] and accidentally hits it.”
Argentina’s victory, which came via goals from Messi and Enzo Fernandez, keeps the country in the World Cup running after a shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in their group opener.
In a move becoming of the world’s top-earning athlete, Messi was spotted wearing an 18-karat white-gold Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G, valued at $265,000 on the aftermarket per Robb Report, at a press conference before his team’s latest win.
Argentina meets Group C leaders Poland in their final group game on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Mexico will need to beat Saudi Arabia to keep its World Cup hopes alive.
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