The referee did not hesitate to send off Lionel Messi and Gary Medel after both players physically confronted each other during Argentina's third place playoff match against Chile.
Lionel Messi and Gary Medel were sent off simultaneously after a wild and heated altercation during the Copa America third-place playoff between Argentina and Chile on Saturday.
It happened with Argentina leading 2-0 and at the end of an intense first half. Messi was chasing down Medel to his own and line and gave the Chilean veteran a shove to the back as both went out of bounds and the ball went out of play. That unleashed something fierce in Medel, who bumped chests and appeared to headbutt Messi, who stood up to his opponent but did not retaliate. Nevertheless, referee Mario Diaz de Vivar did not hesitate to pull out the red card for both players, sending them both off in the 37th minute.
It wasn't the first altercation between the two, as earlier in the half, Medel took Messi down from behind with a hard challenge, sparking another scuffle between both sides, which faced off in the finals of the 2015 and 2016 Copa America tournaments before settling for the third-place playoff this time around.
This was Messi's first red card with Argentina since 2005.