Argentina captain, Lionel Messi, skipped the Copa America medal ceremony and accused referees of "corruption", following their failure to win the tournament and his red card in Saturday's 2-1 win over Chile in the third-place playoff.


Messi was sent off before half time, after clashing with Gary Medel for a loose ball.


Match referee, Mauro Diaz de Vivar stepped in and immediately flashed red cards for both.


After the match, Messi, who didn't collect his third-place medal with his teammates, ripped into the match officials.


"It's a play that happens a lot. [Medel] always plays to the limit. I think the referee overreacted. With a yellow card for both of us, everything would be over.


"I feel lot of anger because I think I did not deserve that red card because I think we were playing a very good game.


"We were ahead, but, as I said recently, unfortunately, there is a lot of corruption, the referees. ... We leave with the feeling that they did not allow us to be in the final, that we were ready for better.


"Brazil's match and today's match were our two best performances, but then when you are sincere, you say things and these things happen," Messi fumed.


Asked directly if his red card was a result of his previous complaints, Messi said: "Yes, unfortunately, yes. You cannot be honest, and you cannot say how things should be done."


As a result of the expulsion, Messi faces a suspension for Argentina's opening World Cup qualifier march but is not bothered by an additional ban for his strong postmatch comments.


"They can do whatever they want. The truth must be said.


"I leave calmly and with the head high and proud of this group that gave everything and that was growing through the tournament.


"I hope that this group is respected and that people support them because they have a lot to give, as they showed in these games," he added.

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