Argentine media furore was perhaps expected following the defeat to Brazil but after it was alleged that Ezequiel Lavezzi had been dropped from the Colombia matchday squad for smoking marijuana, Lionel Messi and the squad decided that enough was enough.
Messi and all 26 members of Edgardo Bauza’s squad attended the post-match press conference after Tuesday’s victory over Colombia and stated that they would no longer be speaking to the press in light of the allegations.
The Barcelona star had just produced a match winning performance on the pitch but demostrated his role within the group as captain when he addressed the media.
“We’re here to let you know that we will no longer be communicating with the press,” Messi said.
“The accusations that were made towards Lavezzi were huge. We regret that it has to be this way but we have no other choice. We know that many of you don’t play that game.
“We were accused a lot. No respect was being shown and we never said anything. But this accusation against Lavezzi was it. If we don’t stop it today, we’ll never stop it. We know that you will continue to criticize us, that’s fine. However, some got into our personal lives.
“We wanted to say this in front of everyone and not release a statement. We didn’t want to hide from anyone. These past two weeks were filled with personal aggression, not football criticism. You can criticize us for winning or losing, but when you get personal we will draw the line.”
The accusation came from reporter Gabriel Anello, who suggested that Ezequiel Lavezzi had been dropped after being caught smoking marijuana while with the national team at the training camp.
Anello wrote on Twitter: “Lavezzi is left off the substitutes’ bench tomorrow because of the joint that was smoked last night in the camp? I’m asking… just asking.”
— Ezequiel Lavezzi (@PochoLavezzi) November 15, 2016
Lavezzi had already taken the step of confirming he would be taking legal action against Anello prior to the match but in a display of unity the players will now be boycotting the press.