Lionel Messi lashes out at Brazilian police for the ‘repression’ of Argentina fans after mayhem at Maracana before World Cup qualifier: ‘A tragedy could have happened’

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Lionel Messi chastised Brazilian police on Tuesday evening after Argentina’s World Cup qualifier victory against their old rivals was marred by pre-match violence.

Ahead of Argentina’s 1-0 win at the Maracana, a mass brawl broke out in the stands as fans and police clashed in shocking scenes.

After Argentina and Brazil fans started fighting, police began using batons against the fighting fans, leaving some bloodied.

And while Messi would normally have been overjoyed to have defeated his arch-rivals, he was understandably still thinking about the violent scenes after the match.

‘We have seen how [police] touched the people, it already happened in the Libertadores final,” he said, referring to the scenes in the Maracana before Fluminense’s victory over Boca Juniors this year. ‘They were more focused on that than on the game.

Lionel Messi led the Argentine players off the field and the kick-off was postponed due to the violence

Some fans were seen bleeding from their heads as at least one left the stadium

Argentinian goalkeeper Dibu Martinez jumped to the stands and tried to grab a stick

“We went to the locker room because it was the best way to calm everything down, a tragedy could have happened.”

He added: “We are a family. We decided to play to calm the situation down.”

Messi also took to Instagram after the match and wrote: ‘This team continues to make history.

‘Great victory in the Maracana, although it will also be marked by the repression of the Argentinians in Brazil. This cannot be tolerated, it is insane and it must end now!!”

Meanwhile, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni admitted he is considering his future with the national team.

The 45-year-old has managed Argentina since 2018 and helped them to a World Cup victory last year.

“I have to think a lot about what I want to do,” he said. ‘It’s not a goodbye or anything else. The bar is very high and it is complicated to continue… this national team needs a coach who has all possible energy and who feels good’

After six games, La Albiceleste top the South American World Cup qualifying table with 15 points, while Brazil are sixth with seven points.