Messi responded after being seemingly spat at by Antonio Sanabria.
HIGHLIGHTS Lionel Messi was spat at during Argentina’s win over Paraguay, but he shrugged off the incident, stating he doesn’t even know who the culprit is. Antonio Sanabria, the player who allegedly spat at Messi, actually spent four years at Barcelona and would have been at the club at the same time as Messi. Despite the unsavory incident, Messi had some positive moments in the game, including hitting the post twice and producing vintage footwork that left a Paraguay defender on the floor.
Lionel Messi was seemingly spat at during Argentina’s 1-0 win over Paraguay. Messi came off the bench in the second half as the World champions picked up a crucial win in their World Cup qualifier. Nicolas Otamendi scored the only goal of the game in the third minute to put Argentina top of the qualifying stage with three wins out of three.
Messi has recently been sidelined with a muscle injury that has seen him miss four Inter Miami matches. He returned to action last weekend against FC Cincinnati, managing 36 minutes off the bench as Miami lost.
But Messi was certainly involved after coming on for Julian Alvarez in the 53rd minute at the Estadio Mâs Monumental in Buenos Aires. It also saw a very unsavoury incident where Paraguay’s Antonio Sanabria appeared to spit in the direction of Messi when he turned his back. After the match, Messi was asked about the incident to which he replied: “They told me that someone spat at me in the locker room, I didn’t see it… The truth is that I don’t even know who this boy is. I don’t want to give him any importance either because he’ll talk about it and become known.”
Messi apparently doesn’t know who Sanabria is so let’s give you a little bit of a lowdown on the 27-year-old strike. Sanabria actually spent four years of his youth career at Barcelona from 2009-2013 and would have been at the club at the same time as Messi. In 2012, he even trained with the first team under Tito Vilanova but only managed 10 appearances for Barcelona B, scoring three goals. He went on to play with Sassuolo, Roma and Genoa in Italy as well as Sporting Gijon and Real Betis in Spain. He’s now at Torino and scored 12 goals in Serie A last season. So it’s almost certain that Messi knows exactly who Sanabria is having played at the same club as him and played against him on numerous occasions in Spain.
Messi was also involved in several much more positive moments during his cameo against Paraguay. He was so close to scoring a brilliant goal from a corner which appeared to be a deliverate attempt. His effort struck the post and bounced out.
There was also a brilliant piece of footwork he produced that made a Paraguay defender look very silly as he sat him down on the floor before playing a pass. It was vintage MEssi.
And then, in the final minute, Messi almost scored a brilliant free kick as he curled it around the wall, beat the goalkeeper but saw his attempt hit the post once again.