Brazil captain Thiago Silva criticised Lionel Messi after the Argentine captain led his team to 1-0 victory against his country on Friday in a friendly in Saudi Arabia.
Silva accused Messi of using his status to force referee’s decisions to favour his team.
Thiago Silva said: “Messi wanted to rule over the game. He kicked two people and the referee did nothing. I argued with the ref and he kept laughing. You have to put admiration to one side.”
“Messi always looks to force the referee to give them free-kicks in dangerous areas, he always acts in that way. We spoke with some players who play in Spain and the same thing happens, he looks to control the game and the referee’s decisions.”
“In the Champions League, Messi doesn’t have that advantage because the referees are tougher. You don’t see him trying to rule so much. There are referees that, because of their admiration for him, start to weigh in on his side.”
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Silva added: “It’s hard to understand when we talk about respect on the pitch, and one of the most admired players in the world does that, you don’t do that to an older person but being that it was a coach… as much as there is rivalry, respect has to come first.”