Mexican boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez has sent a warning to Lionel Messi, who he accused of disrespecting Mexico.
“Did you see Messi cleaning the floor with our shirt and flag????” Álvarez tweeted, apparently in reference to a video which shows Messi celebrating with his teammates in the changing room.
As the Argentine takes off his football boots, the video shows Messi’s foot appearing to make contact with a Mexico shirt that was on the floor. There is no indication that Messi kicked the shirt intentionally.
“He better pray to God that I don’t find him!!” Álvarez added in another tweet, with a series of angry emojis. “Just like I respect Argentina, he has to respect Mexico! I’m not talking about the country as a whole, just about the bulls**t that Messi pulled.”
Argentina beat Mexico 2-0 on Saturday in a tense game in Group C at the Qatar World Cup. Messi scored the opening goal, before Enzo Fernández sealed the win late on to keep Argentina’s World Cup dream alive following its stunning opening round defeat to Saudi Arabia.
Álvarez, who is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers ever after winning world championships in four weight classes, added in one reply to a journalist: “It’s one thing them being better than us (in football), it’s another thing to have respect.”
CNN has asked Alvarez’s representatives for further comment but did not receive an immediate response. The Argentinean Football Association did not immediately respond to CNN.
Messi’s former Argentina teammate Sergio Agüero responded to Álvarez on Twitter, saying: “Mr. Canelo, don’t look for excuses or problems, surely you don’t know about football and what happens in a changing room.
“The shirts are always on the floor after games have finished due to sweat and then if you look properly, he makes the movement to remove his boot and accidentally hits it.”
Argentina takes on Poland in its final group match on Wednesday, with Mexico facing Saudi Arabia as all four teams in Group C remain in with a chance of qualifying for the round of 16.