Lionel Messi leads media boycott after press accuse Ezequiel Lavezzi of smoking marijuana
Published 16/11/2016 | 09:36
Lionel Messi has led the Argentina squad in a media boycott following ‘disrespectful’ allegations made against a number of the side’s players.
The team have been subject to recent criticism over a loss of form and poor results, but their decision to sever ties with the media was sparked by a radio report which alleged Ezequiel Lavezzi had smoked marijuana after a training session.
Speaking after the team’s 3-0 World Cup qualifier victory over Colombia on Tuesday night, the Argentina captain said: "We have decided not to speak anymore with the press.
"We've received many accusations, a lot of lack of respect and we never said anything.
"We know there are lots of you who are not in the game of not showing us respect, but getting into one's personal life is very grave."
It was also announced that Lavezzi would be taking the radio reporter to court over the accusations.
The entire squad then proceeded to walk out from the press conference leaving reporters stunned.
In conjunction with the Lavezzi allegations, Argentine were widely criticised following their 3-0 defeat by Brazil last Friday. It was their second consecutive defeat and followed two draws.
But Tuesday’s 3-0 victory moves the South American team up to fifth place and back into qualifying contention.
The top four in the South America group move straight into the finals, while fifth place qualifies for an intercontinental play-off.
Coach Edgardo Bauza, whose media conference was held afterwards, said the victory made him happy for the team.
He said: "I told the players I'm happy for them after a week of criticism and because it wasn't an easy match.
"Messi is a great and decisive player, he showed that in the first goal and with the others."