Lionel Messi threatened by boxing star Canelo Alvarez over alleged Mexico disrespect

Lionel Messi in the Argentina locker room after their win over Mexico (nicolasotamendi30 via Instagram)
Lionel Messi in the Argentina locker room after their win over Mexico (nicolasotamendi30 via Instagram)

World champion boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has threatened Lionel Messi after accusing the Argentina captain of disrespecting Mexico’s flag at the Qatar World Cup.

Messi scored Argentina’s first goal in their 2-0 win over Mexico in Group C on Saturday (26 November), a crucial result after the Argentines’ shock loss to Saudi Arabia in their opening match.

Messi’s goal against Mexico, and Enzo Fernandez’s follow-up, sparked wild celebrations among Argentina fans at the Lusail Stadium, and the players’ own post-match celebrations in the locker room lasted over two hours.

A video on defender Nicolas Otamendi’s Instagram story appeared to show Messi kicking a Mexico shirt or flag on the floor, though many observers suggested that the action was not intentional, with the forward seemingly trying to remove his boot at the time.

But Mexican Canelo was angered by the footage, writing on Twitter on Sunday (27 November): “Saw Messi cleaning the floor with our jersey and flag????

“He should ask God that I don’t find him!!”

Mexico drew 0-0 with Poland in their World Cup opener, with their subsequent loss to Argentina damaging their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

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Gerardo Martino’s team are not out yet, but a win against Saudi Arabia is essential if they are to progress, with Poland having beaten the Saudis 2-0 in their last outing.

Canelo, 32, is a multiple-weight world champion and is seen by many as boxing’s pound-for-pound No 1 fighter.

He last competed in September, outpointing Gennady Golovkin in their trilogy bout to remain undisputed super-middleweight champion.